Goal count up again in national women’s football [Dawn]

Goal count up again in national women’s football [Dawn]

by Umaid Wasim

KARACHI: With his team 3-0 up with more than half an hour left to play against Mohsen Gilani FC and a winning result in no doubt, Highlanders coach Waleed Javed Khan asked his players to try and build from the back.

He wanted them to score more goals but through intricate passing and movement.

Doing that, Highlanders sliced through their opponents’ deflated defence five more times for a 8-0 win here at the KMC Stadium on Saturday.

Landslide wins have been a common feature at this year’s National Women’s Football championship. As many as 86 goals were scored in eight matches across the first two days of the event. That number dropped to nine in three games on Friday but it was back up again on the fourth day of competition.

There were 47 goals scored in four matches on Saturday. Defending champions Pakistan Army and Diya FC both recorded 15-0 wins. The lowest margin of victory was by seven goals, coming in JAFA Academy’s 8-1 thumping of FC Karachi.

With several clubs making their debuts at the country’s elite women’s tournament, those scorelines were to be expected. And keeping that in mind, the PFF Normalisation Committee has a developmental stage tournament for the teams that fail to finish among the top two each of the four groups.

Highlanders are also featuring for the first time but have assembled a competitive squad featuring Pakistan internationals Asmara Habib and Abiha Haider. With that experience in their ranks, the Highlanders ran out 16-0 winners in their Group ‘D’ opener against Nawanshehr United FA.

Waleed, however, was still of the view that the new teams should’ve earned their right to play at the National Championship with the development stage tournament having been played earlier to decide teams who were good enough to feature on the top level.

“I wouldn’t mind playing in the developmental stage tournament for a promotion spot to the national championship,” he told Dawn. “Because for us right now, the competition will really come at the quarter-final stage when the best teams will be playing. That, in essence, is what should be the women’s championship.”

Had they been playing in the scenario Waleed suggests should be how women’s football should be organised, his side would’ve come across MG FC.

In a tight first half, the two sides looked evenly matched as MG FC put up brave resilience following a 13-0 hammering at the hands of Diya in their first game, only trailing to Fariha’s 28th minute goal.

The floodgates opened in the 56th with Nizalia scoring the first of her five goals while Asmara also getting a brace.

“We did well in the first half but you can see that we’re a new team so it was difficult for us,” MG FC coach Khalid Nawaz told Dawn.

Diya bettered their their victory against Mohsen Gilani FC by two goals in their thrashing of Mohammad Umar Khan FC at the KPT Stadium.

Shumaila and Marium Zehri got four goals each while Rabia Javed helped herself to a hat-trick. Zunaira Shah scored twice with Ameerah and Aliya Jhalka getting one apiece.

Earlier, Army were also utterly dominant against Young Rising Star Layyah in their Group ‘C’ match.

They had nine different scorers with star striker Hajra Khan and Swabia Sarfraz getting trebles and Rameen Fareed hitting a double. Khadija Kazmi, Alina, Mishal Bhatti, Eishal and Rishail also scored for the holders at the KPT Stadium.

In the other group game, JAFA had five goals from Sara Abdul Majeed with Fatima, Kiran Fatima and Marwa getting one each. Zina Adnan got FCK’s lone goal in the 79th, when her side was 5-0 down.

Published in Dawn, March 14th, 2021