Sports mad Khadija wants to make women's football the norm in Pakistan

A determination to make women in football the norm in Pakistan has spurred sports mad Khadija Kazmi to study the prestigious FIFA Master course at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU).

Khadija is hoping to use the skills from the course to promote women’s football in Pakistan.

FIFA khadija main

Khadija, who is from Karachi, said: “I feel that everything that I know in life is because of football. I have always been into sport but when I got into football I found there was no proper coaching or facilities.

“So I started a women’s division at a local men’s club. We use football as a way of developing people.

“Not only are the women from underprivileged backgrounds but they need to have the freedom and opportunity to learn.


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“We had a team mate who died in a plane crash when she was travelling to play in a match in 2010 and so my colleagues and I decide we needed to take the next step in promoting women in football.

“In Pakistan the situation has been very bleak. We do not have a local federation and we have no sports-based degrees in Pakistan. It is a huge issue.

“The fact I play sport is an issue for me personally too. The reaction when I say I play sport is “when are you going to do something serious?”. In schools, the first thing they will disregard in favour of other subjects is sport.

“Things are changing. We have eight-year-olds playing with us now. But we still have women telling their parents they are going out to study and then come to us to play football instead. I want women to have the right to play football and not be judged.”

A united nations of 32 students from around the globe has started studying the prestigious FIFA Master course at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU).

The one year course, supported by football’s world governing body, involves students dedicating a term of study each at the International Centre for Sports History and Culture (ICSHC) here at DMU, the SDA Bocconi School of Management in Milan, Italy, and the University of Neuchâtel, in Switzerland.

Previous graduates from the course, which this year was named the No.1 course in Europe by SportBusiness International for an unprecedented fifth time in their global sports management course rankings, have gone on to work with global brands such as UEFA, Manchester United, Manchester City and the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Alumni include South Korea’s former Manchester United midfielder Park Ji-Sung, Japan’s 2006 World Cup Captain, Tsuneyasu Miyamoto, Women’s Champions League winner, Ami Otaki and New Zealand rower Emma Twigg, who was ranked world number one while studying at DMU.

FIFA Master - group main

Students from Brazil, Zimbabwe, Pakistan, South Africa and most places in between said they had been hugely impressed by the DMU campus and the city of Leicester, as well as the course.

In their first week of study they have already taken in the Leicester City v Liverpool Caraboa Cup match, which Leicester City won 2-0 at the King Power Stadium, and been on a study trip to Wimbledon. They have also started their lectures which are based around the history of sport. 

The course was founded in 2000 by the International Centre for Sport Studies (CIES) in Switzerland which runs the FIFA Master in association with the three universities.

Posted on Thursday 28th September 2017

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