KARACHI: Diya Football Academy’s under-11 team have returned home after featuring in Gothia Cup held from August 9-17 at Qingdao, China.
Started in 1975, the event carried eight-a-side competitions in various age-groups. Diya Academy had fielded its under-11 mixed gender side which lost to Chinese Warriors 1-3 in quarter-finals. Diya Academy’s outfit featured five girls, five boys and four officials. The academy’s owner Sadia Sheikh also accompanied the touring party. Besides in under-11, under-10 event was also of mixed gender.
In the competitions in which 64,000 players and officials from around 84 nations showcased their talent, renowned club Barcelona had also fielded its team. Diya lost against their club 1-3. Before this tour, Diya FC had also played a four-match friendly series against different clubs in Turkey last month.
Sadia told ‘The News’ on Wednesday that they got no sponsors for their trip. “Parents sponsored their children. We got not a single penny from the corporate sector,” Sadia informed. She was quick to add that her old students including former footballers Maryam Leghari and Hina Javed were among those who always helped her in her endeavour to groom her budding colts and juniors.
She said she felt during Gothia Cup that nations were not focusing on women football. “I was surprised that very few nations had fielded their mixed gender sides. Mostly countries had come with their male sides,” Sadia said.
Having guided Diya Women FC to a second-place finish twice at National Women Championship, Sadia added that it was difficult for women to play football after they cross 25-year of age.
“Keeping in view this factor effort should be made to facilitate women in their young age so that they could serve the country,” she pointed out. Sadia has kept pools of under-8, under-11 and under-16 besides having senior lot. She also rubbished the impression that she earned money through football. “Football is my passion. If you have passion for anything God Almighty will succeed you,” she said.