PAKISTAN IS SET to return to international football next week at the SAFF Women's Championship.
After facing a prolonged period FIFA suspension, the Pakistan Football Federation regained their eligibility to play international football recently. And the sub-continental championship in Kathmandu will mark the first time they re-assert themselves in the world of football.
The PFF faced a task of re-starting their national team on a short notice; which they accomplished by holding multiple trials across the country. The selected players were then assembled at another trial and the majority of the squad was picked from there.
There were exceptions to the case, like that of forward Nadia Khan, who plays for Doncaster Rovers Belles, a club that plays in the third tier league of English women's football.
Due to the long 8 year gap since Pakistan women's national team's last match, most of the player who will take to the field at SAFF will be debutants. According to Shahrukh Sohail, a sports professional, research scholar and journalist, only a handful including Hajra Khan, Malika Noor, Roshnan Ali, Sahar Zaman, Mahpara Shahid and Zulfia Nazir have played for the Shaheens before.
The full squad is as follows...
Goalkeepers: Misha Khan, Syeda Mahpara, Atiqa Nasir
Defenders: Malika-E-Noor, Sahar Zaman, Shanza Nazir, Ghazala Amir, Shahida Amin, Mishal Bhatti, Sara Khan, Nizalia Siddiqui
Midfielders: Maria Khan, Khadija Kazmi, Alina Ishpani, Maliha Nasir, Marvi Baig, Hajra Khan, Rameen Fareed, Suha Hirani
Forwards: Zulfia Nazir Roshnan Ali, Nadia Khan, Anmol Hira
Pakistan are placed in Group A along with India, Bangladesh and Maldives. Their comeback match in internaitonal football will be against India on 7th September. The team has already reached Kathmandu to play in the tournament.