Pakistan women soccer team given slot in World ranking

ISLAMABAD: The present set-up of Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) met another milestone on Thursday when FIFA gave inclusion to Pakistan Women football team in the FIFA-Coca-Cola Women’s World Ranking.We have worked hard for six years to build up women’s football and the appreciation from FIFA means very much to us and will inspire us to do even better,” Chairperson of PFF Women Committee, Robina Irfan told APP.

“During 11th South Asian Games in February 2010, we played against India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh and FIFA accommodated us in Provisional ranking only as the ranking of a team is deemed official when they have played at least 5 matches against teams with an official ranking.“We remained provisional when the lists were issued on May 28, August 13  and November 19, 2010. But four matches in Coxs Bazaar’s SAFF Championship, with Mehwish Khan becoming first ever goal scorer for Pakistan, lifted us to an official slot when the Ranking was issued on 18 March 2011. We are now 121 in World and 22 in Asia,” said Robina.“PFF has been highly active in boosting women’s football since 2005. FIFA and AFC have assured all kind of support and inclusion of our National Women team in World Rankingwhich is a great achievement for us,” she added.

“Women’s football is arguably the fastest growing sport in Asia an it is high time women practitioners of the game received separate and suitable recognition -on par with the men. Those days are gone when the women’s version was considered a pale and inferior shadow of the men’s game in our continent,” added Robina, mother of Raheela, and internationals Sohaila and Shlyla who regularly represented Balochistan in National Women Soccer.“PFF has made great strides in women’s football due to dedication of PFF chief. His decision to hire a full-time administrator dedicated to the women’s game has helped to open up competition and education doors for female footballers and officials in the country.”“With exactly 80 days to go until the kick-off of the Women’s World Cup Germany 2011, there has been no shortage of movement on the latest Ranking, which has mainly been caused by numerous high-calibre friendly matches.“The top trio of the USA, winners of the Algarve Cup 2011, Germany and Brazil remains unchanged, however. Japan has achieved their best position since the introduction of the ranking in 2003 by overtaking Sweden, thanks to winning their encounter with the Scandinavians in the Algarve Cup match for third place,” she concluded. – APP