In a male-dominated football world, seldom people care about the world of women’s football, which is also as exciting as it can get. After bringing the exclusive interviews of Indian goalkeeper Aditi Chauhan and Indian born Fulham footballer Tanvie Hans, we have now brought to you the story of possibly the prettiest woman footballer of the world, Syeda Mahpara Shahid.
Hailing from a nation where women are often suppressed from participating in outdoor activities, it takes a lot of courage, determination and dedication to take up a career in football and that is precisely what Syeda Mahpara did. In an exclusive interview with Sports-nova, Syeda talked about her early days, motivations to play football, favorite players and lots of other things.
“I started playing football when my mother took me to a trial at my first club young rising star,” and she thinks that incident alone shaped her life for a better future. It was an early age for the girl and she decided to be a footballer right away. According to her, it helped her to make the decision when she was told that she can make it very far if she becomes serious about it. Well, it certainly is true at this moment! At the age of only 21, Syeda Mahpara already has over 10 caps for the national squad. In addition, she has numerous accolades to her name including the best player award in the 2011 SAFF Women’s Championship as well the best goalkeeper in the tournament during 2011 and 2014 edition. When recollecting her best moments till date, Syeda pointed out those two SAFF editions and said that the penalty she saved against Nepal in 2014 has to be one of her most favorite moments till date.
According to the goalkeeper, her football journey has been smooth so far mainly because of her family, who were “extremely supportive” and always pushed her “to be the best in football and as a person.” She also thanked her coaches Sir Shaid, Sir Lutfi and her goal-keeping coach Sir Jaffar.
In domestic level, Syeda plays for Balochistan United in the National Women Football Championship and she has been part of the winning team six times. But, she definitely wants to go abroad to play for a foreign club and hone her skills. Favorite club? She said, “I’m a big fan of Arsenal ladies! Its a big dream of mine to one day be able to play for them.“
Cristiano Ronaldo and Hope Solo will remain two of the most favorite players for Syeda. But she has a huge respect for Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer and she would try to emulate him throughout her life. One of her secret desires is to be known as The Neuer of Women’s Football.
Because of her extraordinary goalkeeping skills, Syeda is also known as ‘The Wall’, the same nickname Indian batting legend Rahul Dravid got for his superb defensive techniques. When asked about this, she said, “it’s a great honour for me to be called a name the same as a legend like him!”
However, Syeda, understandably enough, is not a big fan of cricket and she said that football is getting extremely popular in Pakistan, mainly due to the excellence of current Women’s team, and now a days there is a lot of new young girls starting to play. She hopes that people are going to be more and more influenced to allow young ladies to play football and support them! The talented girl, well aware of the fact that she herself is a role model for many such young girls, said that she should and will continue working hard to ensure that she remains to be an idol for her fans. In her words, “I still have a lot of room for growth in my profession but as far as I’ve reached I believe is because of my amazing coaches, my family and friends and fans.”
Syeda Mahpara is also matured enough to handle the pressure that comes along with the fame. She said, “Fame has its ups and downs but I do love it as a player, it pushes you to be the best and of course at the end of the day we are all people so we’re all the same. If someone wants to come and talk to me or take a picture with me I’d never refuse.”
Finally, when asked about what her feelings towards Indian fans is, Syeda smilingly said, “I would say I’m very grateful to have all these amazing fans, especially amazing support from India as well. They are the reason I struggle harder to prove (that) no matter what gender, what race or what age you are, you can succeed.”
“That’s not just in football but every profession you want to succeed in! Good things come to those who work hard for it. So keep working and one day you will succeed!” She further added.
At the age of only 21, Syeda Mahpara certainly is one of the most talented women footballers around. Let us wish her good luck for future and hope that she would be extremely successful in every aspect of her life.
(You may also like: An exclusive interview with Tanvie Hans)