Sahiba Sherdil, the centre defender for the Pakistan women’s football team, is now living her goal after getting selected for the national team to compete in the four-nation cup in Saudi Arabia in 2019.
By no means has Sahiba’s career in football been simple; in order for her to play the sport she loves the most, she has had to overcome many obstacles.
“Mauripur is the name of a tiny village in Karachi from which I am from. I first played football on the streets of Mauripur with my older cousins, according to Sahiba, who was mentioned by the Pakistan Football Federation.
I spent my early childhood days kicking a ball about constantly, and I’ve been in love with this activity ever since. My family, though, told me that I shouldn’t be playing football because I was getting older, and so my playing days came to an end. I made an effort to persuade them that this is what I wanted to accomplish, but I was unsuccessful. I even dropped out of school in Grade 8 and told my family that I wanted to become a professional footballer.
“I faced a lot of backlashes and was told to complete my Intermediate, only then would I be allowed to step on the field again. I stayed away from the game for about six years.”
She also discussed her time spent in Karachi playing football for the JAFA Academy.
“Once my academic requirements were relaxed, I enrolled in and began training at the JAFA Academy in Karachi. Since JAFA was headquartered in Lyari, I found it to be a major problem to travel there by myself from Mauripur. Since I didn’t have any help from anyone around me, I had to manage the bus fare entirely by myself, she stated.
“I used to walk 2-3 kms late at night in search of the next bus home. There were times where random bikers would stop and tease me on my way home. I endured all of this and so much more only because of my love for this beautiful game. I had a dream and I wanted to protect it at all costs.”
Sahiba also talked about how Karachi United helped her when her parents advised her to give up playing football. She also promised to improve her game and become Pakistan’s top player.
“After three years of playing for JAFA, my family put pressure on me to stop playing football since it wasn’t helping me. Call it luck or whatever you want, but the very next day Karachi United came to me and offered me a job,” the woman claimed.
“While playing for KU, I found out that the PFF was organising trials for the Women’s National Team. I appeared in the tryouts and Alhumdulilah [Thanks to Allah Almighty] here I am living my dream. Words can never justify how special it felt when I put on the Pakistan jersey. It’s been a crazy ride until now but I am so glad that I didn’t give up.
Everyone encouraged me to stop playing football, including my own family, but my dream was more important to me than anything else. These days, all they can see when they look at me is pride. My family shares my success story with all of our friends and family members. This is only the beginning for me. I wish to excel as Pakistan’s top female football player and continue to play for my country for many years to come. My refuge and comfort zone have always been football. I won’t give up anytime soon!
The four-nation cup will be played in Dammam, Saudi Arabia, between January 11 and January 19 of the following year, it should be emphasised.
Saudi Arabia, the host nation, Pakistan, the Comoros, and Mauritius are among the competing teams.