Editorial Staff – Express Tribune
Women sports seem to be on the rise in Pakistan and following in the footsteps of the Pakistan Cricket Board, the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) has made some solid progress by organising the Saff Championship in Islamabad. While the overall performance of the national team does need a lot of improvement, it was able to record a morale-boosting win against Bhutan on November 16 after losing to Sri Lanka and Nepal in its other encounters.
One hopes that the country’s women footballers continue to get more opportunities of plying their trade at the highest level. The national team needs to be given a consistent run since its skill set left a lot to be desired against stronger opposition and it is clear that a lot of work, time and effort are still required.
Slowly and steadily, the PFF and the players alike need to set themselves tougher goals if they are to stay competitive at the highest level. Overall, the acceptance of women playing sports at either the amateur or professional levels has grown and one can see a lot of encouragement for girls to take up sports although Pakistan still has a long way to go in this respect given the patriarchal nature of our society.
Another welcome aspect of the Saff Championship is that the country is finally seeing some international sporting action on home turf. With a dire security situation having dogged the country for years now, international teams have often refused to travel to Pakistan, with the national cricket team also suffering hugely on this count.
While more improvement is required in the security situation before more high-profile sporting events can be staged in the country, the Saff Championship is a good first step in this direction. It is hoped that more such events will be held in Pakistan in the future, with their frequency increasing as the security situation improves. The Saff Championship has reintroduced women football in the country at the highest level and the momentum must be sustained in the years ahead.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 18th, 2014.