By Mohsin Ali
ISLAMABAD – Soccer is thought to be a very tough game and ideal for males only, but female players have also entered in this physically tough game and have been created waves by giving exceptional performances.
Soccer was not much popular among females in Pakistan, but for the last few years, this game has certainly gained huge attraction among females. Same is the case with young Asmara, who started to play soccer for Young Rising Star Rawalpindi in 2007 and soon became the integral part of the club and due to her matchless performances, she was handed over the captain’s armband this year and she didn’t disappoint those who put faith in her and helped her club in winning the 9th Women National Football Championship 2013 held recently in Lahore, by leading from the front as she was top scorer for her club with seven goals.
In an exclusive interview with The Nation, Asmara said: “I have strong love and passion for soccer since my childhood and my parents helped me a lot in fulfilling my dream and always encourage me to excel in this game.”
“I joined Young Rising Star in 2007 and soon became the permanent member of the club. I prefer to play right out forward position and we have also traveled to US and played a number of games there. This international exposure helped us a lot great in winning national women championship five times and four times in a row which is a world record as no other clubs of the world has managed to achieve this feat. All the great work was done by our club president Giyasuddin Baloch and our coach Shahid Khan, who, despite very limited resources and non-availability of funds, spent a lot from their own pockets to continue to arranging training camps for us,” she added.
“We need more exposure and round the year training as our training camps are only held near the start of an event, just because of lack of funds. It is my request to government to provide us with sufficient amount of funds as we are not less than boys but we are much superior to males. If provided with an opportunity to play international matches, we could prove our words right by giving exceptional results,” Asmara asserted.
“I was invited for the national team in 2011 and now I am a regular member of it, with five other players of our club. It is a clear indication that how much talent our players and especially club posses. There are few more players and if properly looked after, they can break into the national team,” she added.
“We don’t have any ground to practice and we use OPF Boy’s College H-8 to train during the events. Punjab government should allocate a ground to us where we may organise training camps on regular basis. It is my humble request to Punjab Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Shriaf, who is a great sports lover, to look into this matter and order local administration to allocate us a piece of ground, where we may prepare well for various national and international events and earn laurels for the country,” she stated.
She said that it quite disheartening that male football was included in the Punjab Youth Festival, but females were totally ignored. “Females also deserve same treatment rendered to male players. The CM should look into this matter and order inclusion of female soccer in the festival.”
She said Pakistani female players had the potential and they could excel at international level if they would have provided international exposure. “Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) must arrange international tours for female players which will certainly help the federation a great deal in getting more than desired results in international events.”
“We are grateful to District Coordination Officer (DCO) Sajid Zafar Dal, who awarded us a cash prize of Rs 100,000. Although it is a meager amount as compare to our achievements, but still it is a token of appreciation which is a need of the hour. We urge Punjab CM and Prime Minister to reward our club for what we deserve,” Asmara concluded.