Published On: Fri, Oct 14th, 2016

Shahlyla left huge void for Pakistan football and Pakistani society




Shahlyla Baloch is passed away and her departure not only vacant Pakistan football but Pakistani society also.

The striker’s contribution went far beyond the football pitch as she broke cultural barriers to living the life she desired, inspiring several other women to initiate playing the beautiful game.

Shahlyla once told in an interview “Football is the only thing I want to do,” it was asked that if she would follow something different afterward in life and she replied, “All I want to be is a professional football player.”

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She was inspired by her elder sisters, Raheela and Sohaila – both of whom played football just to follow other choices later in life.

Raheela plunged into football management later than following a degree in business management whereas Sohaila began studying medicine.

Shahlyla just wished to play; she was an artist on the pitch and perhaps the very talented of her sisters.

She further revealed in the interview “I love how I can express myself on the pitch,” she added, “Football gives me the freedom to do that.”

Her coach Tariq Lutfi called her “mini-Maradona” in reference to the Argentine great Diego Maradona.

And the pint-sized dynamo lived up to her nickname, netting goals for Balochistan United.

When she featured in the inaugural women’s football championship which was held in 2005 her age was just nine and she was the youngest.

Her mother, Rubina Irfan, chairperson of the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) women’s wing and the founder of Balochistan United, said in the interview “I had to put her in with Sohaila and Raheela because she was that good,” she further added “I also put her in the team to inspire other parents to let their daughters play football.”


In 2010 Shahlyla made her international debut, being part of the Pakistan women’s team during South Asian Federation Games Women’s Championship.

Her mother, being the head of women’s football in the country, saw many accusations of favoritism being hurled on Shahlyla.

Shahlyla was criticized of favoritism because her mother was head of women’s football in the country “I think I am a target of criticism due to my mother being the PFF women’s wing chairperson,”

But she was determined to be the best. As Lutfi, her coach said “There is no doubt she was the best ever,”

Her playing skills saw her – along with fellow national team striker Hajra Khan – earn a contract with Maldives’ Sun Hotel and Resorts FC last year, it was one of her aspirations.

Her biggest aspiration, though, was to win a title with the national team. The 2014 SAFF Championship on home soil was a chance missed.

But she was determined for getting more other chances.

Football was Shahlyla’s life and she spent over half of her 20 years living her life.


About the Author

Sidra Muntaha

- Sidra Tul Muntaha is a journalist (MA-Mass Communication and M.Phil in Mass Communication) based in Lahore. She is working as an editor at fashion, style and entertainment in the section of the Kooza. She writes fashion and entertainment articles for The Kooza News.

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