KARACHI: Pakistan’s top female striker Hajra Khan says her month-long trials in Germany have taught her a lot about professionalism in football — an aspect largely missing in Pakistan.
Hajra spent four weeks in Germany, appearing in pre-season trials for four clubs: FSV Gutersloh, SGS Essen (Bundesliga), VFL Sindelfingen and MSV Duisburg, a third-tier club. She said she had almost signed for the last one but her non-European Union (EU) visa had got in the way.
“It was a great experience for me to understand how things work in Europe,” Hajra told The Express Tribune. “I was really impressed with the professionalism in these clubs. They really take the sport seriously; the discipline in the teams is something to learn from — even from the junior U13 team. I learnt a lot of new techniques and skills in the field.”
Hajra said that she had a very realistic approach to her visit to Germany where she learnt about her own short-comings too; however, the German players had encouraged her and were at the same time amazed at a Pakistani woman pursuing football as a career.
“I am very realistic about my stint there,” she said. “It was pre-season trials and I was training with other players and took part in various conditioning exercises. I could see that I wasn’t as physically fit as the others and they were better at many things. But I also knew I could only improve by playing and learning from them.”
Hajra further explained why she could not get signed. “It was good to know that MSV Duisburg were interested in seeing my game and even offered me to join, but due to non-EU visa issues, I was unable to make the transfer.”
Hajra is the first Pakistan player to score more than 100 goals and also inked a deal with a foreign club in 2014 — Sun Hotels and Resorts Football Team.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 23rd, 2015.