by Faizan Lakhani
KARACHI: Pakistan women’s football team captain Maria Khan has been signed by Saudi Women Premier League Club, Eastern Flames FC, the club announced on Friday.
Maria, 31, was named captain of Pakistan women’s team for their comeback tournament SAFF Women Championship last year and under her leadership, the Pakistan women’s side has displayed remarkable progress.
According to Dammam-based Saudi club Eastern Flames, Maria has been signed for this season to strengthen their first team for the league.
The club announced Maria’s signing on the microblogging site X, formerly known as Twitter, in Arabic which translates as “Maria Khan joins the ranks of Eastern Flames FC”.
“The club’s management contracted with the first foreign professional to support the ranks of the women’s first team in the women’s premier league this season,” it added.
The club’s roster also has players from Colombia, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco.
The club could win only two games out of 14 in the inaugural edition of the Saudi Premier League last season.
Maria has previously played for WAPDA in Pakistan.
The midfielder got everyone’s attention earlier this year with her stunning goal on a free-kick to equalize the game against the hosts Saudi Arabia in four-nation tournament.
Maria is first Pakistani female footballer to be signed by a Saudi club.
In 2014, Hajra Khan became the first ever female footballer from Pakistan to be signed by a foreign club when she joined SHR Football Club of Maldives.
Meanwhile, Maria hoped that her signing with the Saudi club would open more opportunities for Pakistani talent.
“I hope this starts to create opportunities for Pakistani athletes and the talent that a lot of times goes unnoticed,” Maria told Geo News after her signing with Eastern Flames FC.