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Showing posts with label Sports News. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sports News. Show all posts

Monday, July 22, 2019

One Woman’s Small Step for Chitral Marks a Giant Leap for Pakistan in Football [via Arab News]

One Woman’s Small Step for Chitral Marks a Giant Leap for Pakistan in Football [via Arab News]

One Woman’s Small Step for Chitral Marks a Giant Leap for Pakistan in Football [via Arab News]

ISLAMABAD: Twenty two-year-old Karishma Ali is used to a lot of firsts.

She was the first girl from her hometown of lower Chitral to represent Pakistan in football at both the national and international levels.

She took part in the Jubilee Games in Dubai, UAE three years ago and also represented Pakistan’s women football team in the Australian Football International (AFL) Cup.

Ali is also the first from Chitral to be featured on Forbes Asia’s 30 under 30 list.

Now, she has her eyes set on realizing her dream of seeing more girls participating in sports. For this purpose, she established the Chitral Women’s Sport Club (CWSC), the region’s first.

She says it all began when she kicked her first football at the age of nine. “I didn’t properly play football, but I became a football lover back then when I was a little kid,” Ali told Arab News. “I remember watching the World Cup with my father in 2006 and fell in love with the game.”

Ali’s decision to foray into sports was supported by her family, particularly her father, who always pushed her to excel in the game.

In Pakistan, women’s participation in sports is abysmal, mostly due to cultural restraints, patriarchal and conservative attitude, and a lack of infrastructure. For her part, Ali says she factored in all these conditions before taking the leap.

“In Chitral, there was no facility and there is still no facility for girls — which is why I am working on it,” Ali told Arab News, adding that she “never had the opportunities to play football.”

“The only time I would get to play football in Chitral was when I would go on a picnic with my father or rarely with my classmates. The boys would be playing, I would come and kick, they would stare at me, laugh and bully me but I never cared — I still went for it,” she said.

And while she had the backing of her family – and the support of coaches and mentors after moving to Islamabad at the age of 13, leading to her eventual placement on the national team – Ali says that, initially at least, the community was not receptive to the idea of girls playing sports.

“A lot of people do not appreciate the inclusion of girls in sports, so for me I thought starting [this club] and making it for girls under the age of 16 would be crucial,” she said, adding that the sports club “is not just about sports or football.”

“We are trying to teach girls about their rights, we are trying to educate them about health,” she said.

Last year, the CWSC hosted a seven-day camp for 70 girls from across Chitral and surroundings villages, resulting in the first all-women football tournament in the area.

Ali’s aim is to not just encourage athleticism, competition and confidence among young girls, but to also demonstrate how the sport can empower women and be a source of pride for the country.

“Last year [starting out] was very hard, when I told people I wanted to do this in Chitral, people thought I was crazy,” she said. “People never appreciated that I was playing sports to begin with, so to want to invite others in… I was bullied and threatened.”

However, Ali found strength in her usual source – her father. “[He] said to me: ‘You have taken this step for so many girls and, now, if you give up, that means the end of sports for every other girl back home. You decide whether you can be brave and keep fighting or people will forget you. Remember, if you stand up people will remember you, people will get inspired and get their girls involved’,” she said.

And they did.

From among the 70 girls who enrolled in the club, several live in villages and would commute for three to four hours every day just to participate.
“They would not miss the training session even for a single day and would wake up at 6am to reach the ground, play sports and go back,” Ali said of the girls, teeming with pride.

This year, Ali’s camp hosted nearly 200 girls, more than doubling last year’s attendance.

For her party, Ali, who has earned herself the “Pride of Pakistan” award that recognizes tremendous contribution made by Pakistanis, wants the same for other girls, too.

“I remember when I was a kid watching the World Cup with my cousin, I’d told him I want to play for the national team, but there was no such concept of girls playing football. When I got to the national team I sank into this confidence,” she said.

“I think of the little girl back in the village and myself in the national uniform and that fills me with happiness. We have amazing people, we have girls who want to play sports and for Pakistan and I want to be a good ambassador for them,” she said.

Published on Arab News, 10 July 2019

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Hajra Khan breaks world records to highlight inequality in sports in Pakistan [Express Tribune]

Hajra Khan breaks world records to highlight inequality in sports in Pakistan [Express Tribune]

Hajra Khan breaks world records to highlight inequality in sports in Pakistan [Express Tribune]

KARACHI: Pakistan women’s captain Hajra Khan was on a mission at the Equal Playing Field (EPL) initiative in France.

While the EPF Initiative has been to include girls from all over the world to celebrate the sport and giving the opportunity, Hajra’s second time at the Guinness World Record event with them was more about voicing what she had been through as a Pakistani female footballer throughout her career.

Hajra was also featured last year at the Dead Sea for the world record of the highest and lowest altitude matches played.

This time, it was beyond her, and maybe beyond the world record itself, but an achievement she hopes can inspire more girls in the country to pick up football, pick their battles and go for their dreams.

The EPF made the world record for the most players to play in five-a-side match that went on for 69 hours starting from June 28 to July 1, with 807 players participating in it, in the five-a-side match, while the final score between Team Blue and Team Red was 404-369, according to EPF social media update.

For Pakistan, Hajra made her country proud scoring twice, playing for three hours in the field to make sure she is among the women who are motivated and determined to change the world through football.

She participated in the second record attempt to have an 11-a-side match with the most nationalities, there were 54 in Lyon. There too, she scored two more goals.

“It’s not about breaking world records and scoring goals. It’s about why I do it. For Pakistan — for inequality in sport,” the 25-year-old captain told The Express Tribune, who had been seeing discrimination from the Pakistan Football Federation’s administration since 2017, for simply asking for better treatment, equal opportunities for women footballers in the country and for the national team.

Pakistan women’s team last played in 2014 in the South Asian Football Federation Women’s championship in Islamabad, and since then, the PFF never prioritised women’s game, or tried to uplift the already existing structure for women footballers, that is, only having one tournament, a national championship which would last for only a week.

Similarly the women footballers would be paid less than their male counterparts, albeit never getting the same opportunities to play as men.

The women’s football has always been a formality for the PFF.

“[I played] for the $2 we get paid at the national camp, it’s plea for opportunity and respect. It’s about getting more and more girls in Pakistan to play,” said Hajra.

The EPF initiative took place around the same time as the on-going Fifa Women’s World Cup to celebrate the sport and raise the issues that women face.

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Saturday, May 11, 2019

Khelo Kricket and Sportsfever360 partner to open new avenues for female cricketers in Pakistan

Khelo Kricket and Sportsfever360 partner to open new avenues for female cricketers in Pakistan

Khelo Kricket and Sportsfever360 partner to open new avenues for female cricketers in Pakistan

Islamabad 10th May 2019: Cricket and Ramazan go hand in hand and with the beginning of the holy month cricket enthusiasts from all over the country start participating in a variety of tournaments. Although men get an ample chance to play their favorite game, opportunities for women are rare and few. This time there is a turn of events as Khelo Kricket in collaboration with Sportsfever360 and Multan Sultans will be hosting a unique Ramazan cricket tournament for women. The three day long championship will be played from 16thMay to 19th May and 8 teams will be battling to win the title.

Khelo Kricket has joined hands with Sportsfever360 for the digital production and broadcasting of the tournament. The partnership will ensure seamless digital experience for all cricket lovers and help audiences to enjoy the championship online with ease.

For this year the organization has planned to do 4 tournaments together, their first stop will be Karachi after which they plan to move ahead to Lahore, Islamabad and Multan. For the inaugural edition in Karachi, two groups have been formulated comprising of four teams each. Top team from each group will battle in the finale. The eight teams to be featured in this season are AYSB- Red, AKYSB- Blue, Green Royals, Smashers, Fighters, Athletic Club, Boom Boom and Warriors.

KheloKricket was established in late 2015 with the aim to revive, develop and celebrate local cricket on a grass roots level. Since their inception, they have covered 4,000 matches and have registered over 14,000 players and over 1500 teams. This time they will be executing a premium cricket tournament for female players. With their 5th women’s tournament about to kick start this Ramazan, Khelo Krciket aims to create safe spaces for women to play and develop their talent.

Sportsfever360 in line with its vision of empowering sports lovers of Pakistan has always played a vital role to support such initiatives which bring forward talent. Through this partnership they envision to encourage more female players to enter the world of sports and unleash their capabilities.

Some other organizations supporting this unique intiative include Afsaneh, Asia Banaspati, FM91 (radio partner), Dunya News (media partner) and Uber (ride partner).  

Friday, May 3, 2019

Coca-Cola brings ICC World Cup Trophy to Pakistan

Coca-Cola brings ICC World Cup Trophy to Pakistan

Coca-Cola brings ICC World Cup Trophy to Pakistan

Lahore, Pakistan (May 03, 2019): Coca-Cola Pakistan once again lived up to its reputation of actively supporting the passions of the Pakistani people by bringing the ICC World Cup Trophy to Pakistan for nearly 3 days earlier this week, giving all the opportunity to view it personally and take photos with it. The Trophy arrived in Islamabad in the early hours of May 01 and was moved to Lahore later the next day. In both cities the Trophy was displayed for viewing by the media, members of the digital community and by the public. The Trophy had arrived in Pakistan once before earlier, but coming again now, just a few weeks before the start of the 2019 Cricket World Cup, it served to rejuvenate the passion of all Pakistanis for the country’s participation in the most anticipated and prestigious of all international competitions in the world of cricket. 
The silver and gold Trophy is made up of three silver columns holding a golden globe. The columns represent batting, bowling and fielding and the globe symbolizes a cricket ball. Pakistan last won the World Cup in 1992 under the captainship of Imran Khan. 

Coca-Cola is on board with ICC in a strategic partnership as the exclusive non-alcoholic beverage partner, for the next five years, catering to more than one billion cricket fans around the world. This collaboration will align the strengths of both organizations, with Coca-Cola’s diversified portfolio of hundreds of brands and global presence, and ICC’s resolution to expand cricket’s global footprint as a sport, synergizing to promote cricket worldwide like never before. 

The trophy arrived at Islamabad on May 1, 2019 where it was displayed at the Serena Hotel and from thereon at Marriott hotel on May 2, 2019. From there onwards, the trophy toured its way to be exhibited at the Pearl Continental Hotel in Lahore on May 3, 2019. Cricket fans at the aforementioned venues swarmed in to avail the opportunity of a selfie spree and to freeze the festive moments for posterity.

Rizwan U. Khan, General Manager, The Coca-Cola Export Corporation Pakistan and Afghanistan stated at the occasion, “Coca-Cola has endlessly worked in elevating Pakistan’s positive image on the international front. The arrival of the ICC World Cup 2019 Trophy to Pakistan is evidence of this magnificent achievement, as the passion for cricket is amongst the strongest threads that binds this nation together. The ICC World Cup is an opportunity to once again express national solidarity beyond any intersectional identities and the entire nation stands behind our team in wishing it all the best for bringing the World Cup home. Coca-Cola and ICC recognize and value such passion and sentiments and aspire to creating lasting moments of sheer happiness and joy for all Pakistanis through this collaboration”.

The World Cup squad to be led by Sarfraz Ahmed was announced on April 18 with Pakistan set to make its first mark against West Indies on May 31 at Nottingham. The most anticipated encounter between Pakistan and India, as is the highlight of every World Cup, is slated for June 16. The ICC Men’s World Cup will run from May 30 to July 14, 2019 in England and Wales.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

FIFA’s Fact-Finding Mission to Arrive in Pakistan at End of May [via Dawn]

FIFA’s Fact-Finding Mission to Arrive in Pakistan at End of May [via Dawn]

FIFA’s Fact-Finding Mission to Arrive in Pakistan at End of May [via Dawn]

KARACHI: There seems no end to Pakistan football’s woes. The national team is running a serious risk of missing out on competitive football for the next four years with it emerging on Monday that FIFA’s fact-finding mission set to visit the country at the end of May.

The visit is to be the first step towards resolving the crisis in the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) but for Pakistan to feature in the first round of Asia’s marathon 2022 FIFA World Cup and 2023 AFC Asian Cup qualifiers, it will require the mission to finalise a report of its finding and for its proposals to be implemented within six days.

Even then, it seems a tough ask to prepare a team. The first round of the joint World Cup-Asian Cup qualifiers featuring Asia’s lowest 12 teams kick off on June 6. The FIFA/AFC visit, meanwhile, will take place on May 28-29 in Lahore. FIFA didn’t announce the date of the visit, instead it was disclosed to the media by PFF vice-president Sardar Naveed Haider Khan who shared the text of an email sent to him by FIFA’s Member Associations governance services manager Alexandre Gros.

“Regarding the upcoming FIFA/AFC visit, kindly note that it will take place on May 28-29, 2019 in Lahore and visas for the delegation have already been arranged. When we have further information regarding the agenda we will be sure to inform you,” Gros tells Sardar in the email. Sardar had written to FIFA over the weekend, asking for updates regarding the FIFA mission’s visit after the global football body announced last week that it had deferred the mission’s visit in April to May. The earlier dates for its visit were April 24-25.

“The visit was initially scheduled for April 24-25 but, at the request of PFF’s President and General Secretary, it has been postponed to a later date in May,” FIFA had said then. The PFF officials FIFA is referring to are the ones it recognises: president Faisal Saleh Hayat and general secretary retired Col Ahmed Yar Khan Lodhi. The PFF recognised in the country is the one led by Ashfaq Hussain Shah, who was elected in December last year following an election on the orders of the Supreme Court.

FIFA was asked on Monday regarding the mission and whether it had finalised the members of the mission since Gros’ letter says that visas had been arranged but it didn’t give much details. “Further updates will follow in due course,” the FIFA spokesperson told Dawn. FIFA decided on sending a mission to the country after a meeting of its Member Associations Committee on April 3.

Pakistan are set to learn their fate in the first round of World Cup/Asian Cup qualifiers on Wednesday. The AFC had confirmed to Dawn last month that Pakistan had sent its entry for the draw despite the PFF of Hayat withdrawing national teams from several tournaments. Last month, Pakistan went out of the race for the 2020 Olympics without kicking a ball after the Hayat faction withdrew the team from the qualifiers of the AFC Under-23 Champion­ships.

Dawn has reliably learnt that the lack of urgency by the Hayat faction in resolving the PFF issue is due to the fact that there is a feeling prevalent that even if the issue were to be resolved there will be very little time or finances to prepare the team for the all-important first qualifying round. Last time out, Pakistan fell to Yemen in the first qualifying round and went more than three years without playing a competitive match. Part of it was also due to the tussle over PFF’s control over the last four years.

The court-ordered PFF election was the first step towards resolving that crisis in the PFF but FIFA will make a final decision, having earlier called those polls that saw Ashfaq elected as the country’s football chief as “third-party interference”. In October last year, FIFA’s Member Associations committee had given the Hayat-led PFF an 18-month period — until March 2020 — to hold fresh elections.

After a controversial PFF election in June 2015, that sparked a dispute in the football body, Hayat was earlier given a two-year mandate in September 2015 to ratify the PFF statutes and hold fresh elections. The Hayat-led body made no headway into those issues. The PFF was banned for six months for “third-party intervention” before FIFA lifted the suspension in March last year after Hayat was restored as the PFF chief on the orders of the Lahore High Court, which had appointed an administrator to oversee PFF affairs in 2015.

The case went to the Supreme Court the very next month with the country’s apex court ordering fresh elections. Ahead of the SC-ordered election, FIFA had warned that the PFF faces possible suspension if the polls went ahead but then decided to send a mission due to what it termed “complex circumstances” surrounding the election.

Published in Dawn, April 16th, 2019

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