''For me, when so many Pakistanis are suffering, I think that's a bit of extra motivation to try our best so that we can give a bit of happiness to the nation,'' says winger Suha Hirani, as she along with the rest of the Pakistan team compete at the South Asian Football Federation [Saff] Women's Championship happening in Kathmandu, Nepal.

The 25-year-old has been part of the local circuit since 2014, the year when Pakistan women's team last played their international event before making their comeback to the global stage last Wednesday.

Pakistan opened their campaign with a 3-0 defeat at the hands of India.

Suha has been a regular fixture at the last two national championships, while she had been playing for Karachi United.

But opting for football as a full-time career is not a viable route by any means in Pakistan, where the country's regulating body, the Pakistan Football Federation [PFF] has been surrounded by controversies and in-fighting among the officials since 2015.

While men's football has a semi-professional structure, women's football is a far cry from that.

The country has been banned twice in the last five years by FIFA because of third-party interference, while the last ban was lifted only in June, after almost 15 months because one faction of PFF officials chose to overthrow the FIFA installed Normalisation Committee.

It happened, ironically, in the middle of the 2021 National Women's Championship.

Suha, however, has made her mind to pursue a career in football, a brave choice as with a degree and exposure from the US.

She could have easily walked away from a path that has given more heartbreak than improvement for women's game in Pakistan, but she didn't.

The World Students Society thanks Natasha Raheel.


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