“I played football as a child in school and loved it to a point I wanted to train at a club, but there was no concept for it,” said Dr Sabina Hussain, an optometrist by profession, whose enthusiasm for football reflected in the streets of a Karachi neighborhood amid FIFA World Cup 2022.
It is my love that you see on the walls in our Siddique Goth, she told ARY News, standing in the middle of the street, among others, she and her community people painted and decorated ahead of the largest tournament of the world.
I was the first woman here to walk the streets for the celebrations and to have painted the walls, she said. “What I did also inspired and encouraged other women and girls to do so and look at what we have achieved now?”
She not only mobilized children to join hands with her, in the world cup festivities, but also women in the area who not only participated, but also made flags, shirts and caps to sell.
“If you let women to pursue their passions, they will not only compete and live better, but will also find opportunities to make a living,” said Dr Hussain.
Their efforts to decorate and paint Siddique Goth were not only reported locally, but even the global football regulator FIFA acknowledged and praised it in a tweet.
📍 Karachi, Pakistan… 🇵🇰
— FIFA.com (@FIFAcom) November 8, 2022
Adjacent to Malir Halt, her neighborhood has a football ground where boys and men play at a club level, but the girls have negotiated a time slot for their own training there.
“Our girls, let me add from lower-income-class households, have still to travel to Lyari that is miles from here, simply to train in girls’ facility,” she said, adding that it’s about time every locality had its own sports facility for both men and women.
It’s true that there’s resistance from society but its less than how much it used to be in the past and there’s some acceptance of women on the fields now, she said. Now more than ever the government must take measures to provide women the equal facilities.