KARACHI: Raheela Zarmeen is likely to be the only female at the Sheikh Kamal International Club Championship in Bangladesh after she was made a part of K-Electric’s (KE) coaching staff.
It is a first for a Pakistani woman to step into the men’s game in such a capacity and Raheela is relishing the opportunity so that she can bring back the knowledge learnt during the stint back to the women’s camp.
Previously, she has managed the women’s national team and Balochistan United FC.
Raheela’s induction was not only an alien territory for the 22-year-old, but was also something entirely new for the whole KE squad. However, Raheela believes it is only a matter of time before the team gets used to her presence in the camp.
“It’s a new and rare experience but I’ve already learnt so much from the first day of the camp,” Raheela told The Express Tribune after the first session with the team under the coaching expertise of Majid Shafiq, a UEFA-certified coach who led KE in the Asian Football Confederation Cup qualifiers.
“It’s a great time since things are progressively changing,” said Raheela. “I think the players were a bit shocked at my presence there but that didn’t stop them from playing their game. Hopefully I can teach our women whatever I learn from my time here.”
Raheela added that she is fortunate to be training with Shafiq, who has a vast experience in football, saying she could, from the first day, tell the difference between his skills and those of the local coaches, whom she believes rely heavily on repetitive routines.
Meanwhile, Shafiq said this would be a good opportunity for the youngster to learn about leadership skills and have a better approach at analysing the game while being on their coaching panel.
KE will leave for Bangladesh on October 17 to compete in the tournament to be held in Chittagong.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 14th, 2015.