Hajra Khan is the Captain of the Pakistani Women’s Football Team. Her journey began while playing football on the streets outside her home. But that’s not where it stopped. She’s so much more!
She is the country’s highest-scoring female footballer, a UNICEF ambassador and the first Pakistani player, male or female, to be signed by a foreign club. She says proudly: My parents always encouraged me and never stopped me from achieving my dreams.
Hajra has played in multiple International Football Leagues. She has won several international awards and most recently, she delivered a TED TALK to throw light on mental health issues faced by sports athletes. The pressure to win is so strong, says Hajra, that although you might look okay from the outside, you might not be okay from the inside. Hajra opened up about her battle with depression and anxiety on a public forum. “It’s okay to not be okay.” She announced.
Hajra has been battling for better pay scales for female athletes as well. She is a motivational speaker, and has been rallying support for women’s football by playing friendly matches within local communities to create awareness in Pakistan.
Hajra’s list of achievements goes on: She recently broke a world record when she played the world’s lowest-altitude football match on the shores of Jordan’s Dead Sea, 420m below sea level. The event, organised by Equal Playing Field, a non-profit organisation pushing to end gender inequality in sport, brought together women of 29 nationalities. They hiked through the desert mountains, organised football clinics in local towns and played the record‑breaking match – in which Khan scored the winning goal despite having a broken toe.
We salute Hajra Khan for taking the nation along, making us proud, and fighting her battles to come out a winner every time. Play on Hajra!
This article is the collaboration effort of several members of Team FUCHSIA.