KARACHI: Pakistan striker Shahlyla Baloch hopes that her stint in Maldives allows the world to recognise Pakistan’s football talent after she became the first Pakistan female footballer to record a hat-trick in a foreign league.
Shahlyla netted thrice for Sun Hotel and Resorts Football Team last week as they routed L-Sports 8-0 in the Maldives National Women’s Football Championship.
“It’s been an amazing opportunity,” Baloch told The Express Tribune. “It’s certainly a great way to start. I just played my game, and I didn’t know what I’ve achieved really, but after the match, everyone started congratulating me that I’ve become the first Pakistani woman footballer to score a hat-trick internationally. It felt really good.”
Shahlyla, who will be staying in Maldives till the end of the season for the National Women’s Football Championship on June 7, is glad that her stint is helping in improving the image of Pakistan’s football abroad.
“After my performance, the coaches here were really happy,” she said. “In fact, coaches from other clubs also approached me to sign up for them. So it was a good experience and also an affirmation that we have football talent in Pakistan. I’m just glad that I’ve been able to prove that.”
While Shahlyla and teammate Hajra Khan are featuring in the Maldives National Women’s Football Championship, Maldivian players from Sun Hotel and Resorts Football Team will also join Balochistan United FC in July to participate in the Pakistan Women’s Premier Football League, beginning in August, as part of the player exchange programme initiated recently between the two clubs.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 1st, 2015.