by Faizan Lakhani
Karachi: The ongoing National Women Football Championship is supposed to provide a platform for the budding female footballers of the country. While it may be hitting the mark on that front, the officials in charge of matches are predominantly male, with the sole female official being referee Kashmala Batool.
“The ongoing championship has only one female referee and that’s me; the rest are all male referees,” Kashmala told Geo Super. “This is testament to the fact that we need more girls in the field to supervise these games.
“They surely have this stage available to them,” she added after supervising a match between Diya Women FC and Nawanshehar United at KMC sports complex on Thursday.
Kashmala said that she yearns for the day when women’s football matches will have an all-female refereeing cast in Pakistan.
With a master’s degree in physical education, Kashmala works as a girls’ college’s PE head. She highlighted that a lack of football tournaments for women in the country is one of many reasons why there are not enough girls to officiate matches
“After coming here I’ve realised that we need more and more female referees,” she said. “We hardly have three girls who are doing this job. The other two are from Baluchistan.
“I feel that we aren’t having enough tournaments for girls. If we hold more such events then girls will be encouraged to start a career – not only as player but also as referee.”
The Khairpur-born further said that after performing her duties as a referee, she now views the game differently.
“Playing a match and supervising a match are two different things,” she said. “You don’t realise the small mistakes when you’re in field as player but when you’re a referee then you’ve to keep an eye on everything and that makes you understand the game more closely.”
Not content with her trailblazing role, Kashmala has also set her eyes on bossing men’s games.
“I’ve not supervised men’s game yet but next year, I am looking forward to doing this,” she said. “I also want to supervise matches in FIFA and AFC competitions and look forward to get support from PFF (Pakistan Football Federation).”