Hajra Khan a Pakistani football striker and one of the best football players in the country, was born on December 29, 1993 in Karachi, Pakistan. Khan plays as a midfielder for Diya Women’s Football Club (DWFC) of Karachi and striker for the Pakistan National Football Team. She is also the Vice Captain of Team Pakistan.
Rise to Prominence:
From an early age, her dream was to become a professional athlete but not a footballer until 2008.
Khan was discovered by a well-known female coach, Sadia Sheikh when she went to tryout for the provincial football team. To good a player to be playing for a provincial team, Hajra was taken on DWFC on June 14, 2008. Well then on, she was going to fulfill that dream at a blistering pace.
Seldom has a youngster made such an impact in a major national tournament as Khan did at the Pakistan National Women’s Football Championship in Islamabad in 2008 with just one month of training. She made a debut at just the age of 14 and scored a whooping 9 goals in 3 games for DWFC which won her the Top Scorer of the Tournament award.
Later in 2009, her remarkable consistency at play again won her the Top Scorer of the Tournament award at the 5th National Football Championship where she scored 8 goals in 3 matches. Her exceptional performances caught the eye of many football enthusiasts.
Khan is very solid with both feet and she shows it time and time again with her great long-range strikes and passes and her crossing. Her exceptional skills and pace make her a tough customer for any defender. Her likely presentation at the 6th National Football Championship ‘10, impressed sufficiently, made her the Best Player of the tournament.
While three back-to-back national awards were found overwhelming by everyone who had heard of her, she had plenty more to exhibit.
At the 7th National Football Championship ’11, DWFC reached the Semi’s after 3 years. The match was played between DWFC and WAPDA, the defending runner-ups. It was nil all at full-time and remained alike after another half hour of extra time was played. DWFC’s goal keeper panicked and stepped down as the penalty shootout was to be the game decider and the only chance for DWFC to play their first ever finals. With dedication and tough-mindedness, Khan stood in tall as goal keeper for the first time, being the only hope left for the club. By saving 3 penalties shot by WAPDA and letting just one in, she took the team through to the finals with the score 3-1.
Her tremendous performance won her yet another Best Player of the Tournament award at the 7th National Football Championship.
Another playmaker on the list with her phenomenal technique, speed on the ball and goal scoring prowess yet again made her the Top Scorer of the Tournament at the 8th National Football Championship last year with 10 goals in 3 matches, creating a record of winning 5 national awards in 5 consecutive national championships at just the age of 18.
International Career: 2009 – Present
Earlier in 2009, Hajra Khan was selected to be on the national squad to take part in the South Asian Games that took place in Dhaka, Bangladesh in 2010. Pakistan did not perform as well since it was their first ever international experience.
In the same year, PFF picked Hajra considering her potential to become an excellent junior coach and to be sent for the FIFA Women Football Coaching Course at Colombo, Sri Lanka. But Khan, who was only 16 years of age then, turned out to be rather young for the course.
Next was the 1st SAFF Championship 2011 that took place in Chittagong, in which Pakistan advanced to the semi-finals but failed to proceed further as they lost in the semi against India. Khan showcased a great performance but unluckily could not get her name on the score sheet.
Later in 2012, the 2nd SAFF Championship took place in Colombo, Sri Lanka in which Khan was given the honor to be Vice Captain of Team Green. It was indeed a moment or pride for her.
It was a group stage match against Maldives in which Hajra scored her first International goal in rather an extraordinary fashion with a back heel volley on a cross earlier in the first half, first of the kind in South Asian women’s football history.
She scored another long range goal in the second half, scoring 2 of the full-time score 3-1 for the winning side.
With uncountable achievements in all sorts of tournaments, the most decorated player in women’s football in Pakistan, Hajra Khan has been labeled the female equivalent of Pele by most team mates and some senior pioneers of Pakistani football.
– Hajra is also a member of Pakistan National Netball Team and has won a bronze medal at the South Asian Beach Games in Hambantota, Sri Lanka in 2011.
– She has also represented Pakistan at the Salwan International Marathon in India holding 47th position out of 7000 participants at just the age of 11.
– Khan is also the Most Valuable basketball player of Karachi since 2009. Also led the school Basketball team at the UAE Inter-school Basketball Championship in Dubai and won gold.