PFF approves squad of 18 for 1st SAFF Womens Championship

Lahore, 4 December: Pakistan Football Federation (PFF)’s President Makhdoom Syed Faisal Saleh Hayat has approved 18-player squad for the First-ever SAFF Women Championship 2010. Young Rising Stat’s Asmara Habib, HESCO’s Naila Rani, and Diya FC’s Marium Laghari will earn international cap for the first time while other 15 have already represented Pakistan in 11th South Asian Games early this year.

South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) is all set to organize women´s football among its member nations from 12 December 2010 when Bangladeshi Town Cox’s Bazar will host inaugural SAFF women Championship.The SAFF Women Championship will be comprised of India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan and Afghanistan.Tournament’ media partner ATN Bangla will telecast live the opening ceremony, two semifinals and the final.Earlier, the event’s organizer Bangladesh Football Federation signed two sponsorship deals with KFC and Aamra network for the meet.

The team included fast-moving Diya FC’s spearhead Hajra Khan who won the “Misha Dawood Trophy” during last National Women Championship. Best Goal Keeper Syeda Mahapara (Rising Star) and leading markswoman – also of Rising Star – Malaika Noor (9 Goals) are also among the players. Mejzgaan Orakzai and Mehwish Khan – who attended the FIFA Regional Coaching Course for Women’s Football recently at Colombo, Sri Lanka – are also in squad.

Midfielder Ishrat Fatima of Lahore’s Sports Sciences Department (Punjab University), the first-ever captain of Pakistan National Women football team at Dhaka’s Bangabandhu National Stadium in five-nation League of 11th South Asian Games 2010, is also in the squad. Ishrat has also got the distinction of getting all three medals in National Championship.

The SAFF Championship for Men is held biannually which was launched at Lahore’s Railway Stadium in 1993 as SAARC Gold Cup; since 1997 onwards it is known as the SAFF Championship. Cox’s Bazar stadium, located 150 KM south of Chittagong, will be the inaugural venue of SAFF Women Championship.

Pakistani team is comprised of officials Tariq Lutfi, Nadia Naqvi, Kirin Illyas, Saba Noreen and 18 players Syeda Mahpara, Shumaila Sattar, Malaika Noor, Mehwish Khan, Asmara Habib, Nadia Bhatti, Abiha Haider, Humera Nazir, Sana Mahmood, Asmaa Usman, Naila Rani, Shahida Ghulam Raza, Mejzgaan Orakzai, Ishrat Fatima, Hajra Khan, Marium Laghari, Shelyla Baloch, Sehar Zaman. The stand byes are Roshnan Ali and Afshan Altaf.