by Natasha Raheel
KARACHI: Pakistan national women’s team captain Hajra Khan will be supporting Maldives in the ongoing 2016 South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Women’s Championship in India after the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) withdrew the national team’s entry in the regional event.
The PFF cited lack of resources to train and the send the team for the event as the main reason why the federation did not proceed with sending the team to India and Hajra feels that the federation is ruining the careers of many professional footballers in Pakistan.
“I will be supporting Maldives at this year’s SAFF Women’s Championship as we cannot play. We waited two years to play in this championship but now all we can do is sit at home and watch the matches from our lounges. It is really disappointing. The PFF is ruining our careers,” she said.
Hajra further revealed that she did everything in her power to convince the PFF to send their documents as the team is willing to put in their own money to cover the travelling and accommodation expenses.
“As the women’s captain I tried my best that we participate in this event. I wrote to the Maldives football federation, SAFF and the PFF as well. I told them that resources shouldn’t be a problem as I can manage to get sponsorships and players can put in their own money for travel and stay. I tried to explain it to them that we can go but they didn’t cooperate,” she added.
Hajra feels that it is another two years of her life wasted as she has been at her peak and other players have been training regularly too but it is the PFF’s power struggle that has gotten in the way.
She further added that while other teams have improved drastically over the past two years, Pakistan have plummeted to new lows.
“Nepal and Bhutan are smaller nations compared to ours, but they have their football league and competitions throughout the year, even Afghanistan, which is a war-torn country, get their teams together to participate in the events. Now if football resumes after all the power-struggle among the officials, we’ll have to start from the scratch, we are lagging behind everyone in our region now,” said Hajra.