Sunday Jan 24, 2021
KARACHI: In a bid to be on top of their game, 35 women footballers from Chitral, a remote area in Northern Pakistan, have travelled to Islamabad for a football camp organised by the Chitral Women Sports Club (CWSC).
The camp is the result of efforts by CWSC’s founder, Footballer Karishma Ali, who has been globally acclaimed for her efforts to change the fate of girls in her village through her contributions to sports.
Twenty-three-year-old Karishma told Geo News that the idea behind bringing these girls to Islamabad from Chitral is to give them the opportunity to learn the various aspects of the game under the guidance of professional coaches and expose themselves to a productive environment.
“We have two coaches, Jose Alonso from Spain and Waleed Javed, who is FA level 1 and AFC C license coach. They will be training these girls for the next seven days,” she said.
Ali said that the entire programme is funded by the club which she founded two years back.
“Chitral Women Sports Club has been organising various sports events since 2018, as we wanted to bring girls out of Chitral to learn and experience a new environment."
"We are here for seven days and everything for these girls is being taken care of. We will not only learn football but also the professional aspects of an athlete’s life,” she revealed.
According to Karishma, the participants are aged 8 to 16, adding that they usually start their day by watching videos of international women's football matches between top teams.
“I believe that you also learn by watching top teams play. So, we start our sessions with watching a football game on TV so that the players can take inspiration from top women footballers,” she said.
“These girls are from remote areas and most of them had never seen women footballers play international games, so watching these videos encourages and motivates them to start thinking about playing for Pakistan,” Karishma added.
Karishma feels that there is also a need to change the concept of being an athlete and expressed her desire for sportspersons to be treated with respect so that people can be encouraged to pick sports as a full-time profession.
“Here at the camp, we are trying to provide these girls an environment where they can feel like elite athletes; it is to make them feel that they are important,” she concluded.