The Gothia Football World Cup scheduled to be held in Qingdao from August 10 to August 17
Lahore (Muhammad Yasir) Continuing with its mission of empowering Thari women by encouraging them to explore their talent, Engro, in collaboration with Thar Foundation is sending two underprivileged Pakistani girls Jamna & Devi to Qingdao, China to take part in “Gothia Football World Cup” taking place in Qingdao province of China from 10th to 17th August. Both these girls have been shortlisted and have received their visas.
Both Pakistani girls Jamna & Devi belong to Thar district and they never participated in any international tournament before. “The Gothia” football tournament is considered as the world’s biggest youth football tournament. The female players are being sponsored collectively by Engro & Thar Foundation, who will cover their expenses for travel, boarding & lodging and accommodation.
The girls have been part of a ten-day training camp in Karachi where apart from playing practice matches, they have been attending grooming classes. The girls are a part of a ten-member team of South Youth Soccer Academy.
Both girls sees this as an opportunity of a life time for them and for the other Thari girls and feels it is the culmination of their hard work and a solid sign that they can have a future in football
According to Devi’s uncle: ” This is actually unheard of… it is hard for me to believe that my niece will be travelling abroad and that too for playing a sport like football which is an alien sports in this region. In my 50 plus years of life, I have never heard a boy let alone a girl travelling out of Tharparkar. I am grateful to Thar Foundation and Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company for providing this opportunity to our girl.”
On this occasion Ahsan Zafar Syed, CEO Engro Energy Limited said that Engro is focused in its mission to not only educate the female population of Thar but also to provide them with opportunities to explore their talent and realize their dreams. We want to encourage them in sports too and sending them to Qingdao to showcase their skills is in line with the same vision of inclusive development and empowerment of people of Thar. He further added that it is a major opportunity for female footballers to get some international exposure and more importantly a chance to show the world that women’s football has a great future in Pakistan.
Sabeen Shah, spokesperson Thar Foundation said that I’ve been working with these girls from the very beginning, it’s a dream come true in many ways because we are finally taking them to this tournament after months of hard work. She further added that our collaboration with Engro gives opportunities to those who normally have lesser chances at sports and brings the community together to celebrate the love of football. We believe that sports is a common language that everyone can enjoy regardless of culture, nationality or religion.
Gothia Cup is the world’s largest international youth football tournament organized by professional football club BK Häcken and has been held annually since 1975 in Gothenburg, Sweden. Each year, around 1700 teams from 80 nations take part and they play 4500 games on 110 fields. Considered as the biggest tournament in the world in terms of participating teams, competing youth teams throughout the world enter the competition. A meeting place for the world’s youth, irrespective of religion, skin color or nationality, with football as the common denominator.