by Natasha Raheel
KARACHI: The 2010 South Asian Games (SAG) 100m sprint gold medallist Naseem Hameed has joined forces with Azad Foundation of the 2014 Street Child World Cup fame to help form a football team composed of underprivileged girls.
The two parties have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU), through which female footballers from impoverished backgrounds will get to train at the Naseem Hameed Academy.
“I had this idea of training girls between the ages of 10 to 18 for the longest time, and now we will finally be able to do something about it. We want our girls to go out and win accolades the same way as the Street Child football team did,” Hameed told The Express Tribune.
“We have hired trained coaches and my academy now has a good grass field as well so everything is in order for these girls to start training.”
While the facilities and required personnel are in place, Hameed is well aware that it still won’t be easy to bring the girls to the ground.
“I understand the challenges for these girls as I had also faced so many hurdles. For starters, it could prove difficult to convince the parents to let them play,” she explained. “But we will support them with everything we’ve got, including nutritional requirement to physical training and even psychological counselling.”
Azad Foundation cofounder Itfan Maqbool, meanwhile, added that the long-term aim with the girls team is to get them to compete at international events, just like they did with the Street Child team where 35 boys represented Pakistan at the World Cup two years ago.