by Faizan Lakhani
Karachi: Pakistan’s emerging female footballer Suha Hirani on Friday revealed that she played for seven years without getting paid.
Talking exclusively to Geo Super, the 23-year-old appreciated the record prize money set for the 13th National Women Football Championship, saying the players deserve it as they mostly spend on everything from their own pocket.
“Players should be looked after and properly paid for the time they are investing in football,” Suha said. “I played for seven years without getting paid; we use our own money and do everything to play the sport so we need a little bit of help in that.”
Pakistan Football Federation has announced a record PKR 3.2 million reward for the team winning the title this year. Suha, who represents Karachi United in the tournament, said that it is a step in the right direction and will encourage players to start playing football.
“Now that we are being invested in, it will motivate us to do better and work harder so that we win the competition and reinvest in our game,” she said. “When players get good prize money, other girls will also start joining the game which will eventually help Pakistan in making women football a professional sport.”
The young midfielder said that participation of over 400 footballers in the national championship is a testament to the fact that women in country have passion for the sport and the only thing that players need is opportunity.
“It’s a very good sign. It shows that we have the talent, we have the passion, we have the numbers, we have the heart, and we have everything in this country. The only thing that we need is opportunity and facility; the opportunity to play and facility to develop,” she said.
Suha, who was declared the most valuable player of the tournament last season, said that a proper system needs to be in place where more football competitions are held and longer training camps are set for players instead of just one or two-week ones.
“If we have to disappear after playing one tournament then we are not going to improve. Most of the girls don’t have a club system like we have at Karachi United, which is why they all need regular training, tournament participation and coaching opportunities, hence, we need to play football round the year,” she said.
“We also need longer camps, like camps of three months instead of just a week camp to develop players both physically and mentally.”