The Pakistan women’s football team made history on Tuesday when they defeated Tajikistan 1-0 in the AFC Olympic Qualifiers to win their first-ever competitive game. Zahmena Malik scored the goal, which was an incredible moment for the team. The Green Shirts placed third in Group E in the initial round of the Paris Olympics 2024 qualifiers.
This is a tremendous accomplishment for a squad that has battled to find recognition and support in a nation where football is not a popular sport. Numerous difficulties have been faced by the Pakistan women‘s football squad, such as a lack of facilities, inadequate funding, and cultural obstacles. The team has also had to face cultural obstacles because many Pakistanis believe that football is a sport dominated by men. Despite these challenges, the team has continued to persevere and work hard to improve its skills and performance.
Road to Paris Olympic Qualifiers
The Pakistan women’s football team’s journey to the Paris Olympic Qualifiers was not an easy one. They had to go through a rigorous qualifying process, which involved playing against some tough opponents. The Green Shirts fell to the Philippines 4-0 in their opener and Hong Kong 2-0 in their second match. The Philippines advanced as group winners to the next round after winning all three games. On April 5, 2022, Pakistan played Tajikistan in its third game. Pakistan’s third match was against Tajikistan on April 5, 2022. It was a must-win game for Pakistan if they wanted to progress to the next round of the qualifiers. The team competed with grit and perseverance, and they were successful in defeating Tajikistan by a score of 1-0.
Moreover, Nadia Khan, Pakistan’s standout striker, was also absent from the team owing to an ACL injury that prevented her from competing in the tournament. The group stage’s second and third games were also skipped by captain Maria Khan because of an injury. But in the game against Tajikistan, the team showed tenacity and resiliency.
The final performances of the other groups will determine Pakistan’s chances of moving on to the next round. They will need to finish as one of the best runners-up to qualify for the second round. However, the other groups have some excellent teams, so it is a difficult challenge.