Nadia Khan’s paperwork is complete and the Doncaster Rovers Belles star is now set to make her international debut for the Pakistan Women’s National Team.
Sky Sports News can reveal that Rovers midfielder Belles Khan is set to fly to Kathmandu this weekend to join his new Pakistani team-mates, who are returning to international action in the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Championship at the Nepal, from the first week of September. .
Khan, who qualifies to play for Pakistan through her parents’ heritage, will become one of the first British-Pakistani women to play for the national team.
The Football Federation of Pakistan has moved quickly to assemble a squad to play in the SAFF Championship after its recent international suspension due to undue interference by a third party was recently overturned by FIFA.
Khan now looks set to play an important role in the tournament for Pakistan’s women’s team, which last played an international match in 2014. She will also be one of the first beneficiaries of the new equality policy. remuneration from the Football Federation of Pakistan, which is seen as a big step for gender parity and women’s sport in the country.
It caps a meteoric rise for Khan, who rose to prominence when she scored a 45-yard howler – tagged as an early contender for the FIFA Puskas Best Goal award – for Rovers Belles against Solihull Moors the last season.
Khan, 21, is a former Leeds United Girls’ Center of Excellence player, who has played for Rovers Belles since 2018.
The technically gifted attacking midfielder is in fine form and won two penalties in a thrilling 4-3 victory for Rovers Belles at Nettleham on the opening weekend of the season.
Sky Sports News understands Khan was one of at least a dozen potentially eligible overseas players – including West Brom’s Mariam Mahmoud – who have been approached about their interest in representing Pakistan.
Speaking ahead of South Asian Heritage Month in her first interview with a major platform, British-Pakistani Mahmood opened up to Sky Sports News about her love for West Brom, where she rose through the ranks. This caught the attention of scouts trying to rebuild Pakistani women’s football, who contacted the club directly about Mahmood’s potential availability.
Sources close to Mahmood said Sky Sports News the 18-year-old is “honoured” to be considered for international selection by Pakistan. Sky Sports News was also told that the striker’s sole focus at the moment is to continue her development as a footballer to try and fulfill her potential.
The 18-year-old striker is a former England college international and is highly regarded by West Brom director of football Dave Lawrence and manager Jenny Sugarman.
Mahmood came off the bench to make his first appearance of the season in West Brom’s loss to Nottingham Forest last weekend.
Meanwhile, the Manchester United academy youngster Safia Middleton Patel won his first call-up to the Wales senior team.
The 17-year-old goalkeeper, who had loan spells at Blackburn and Leicester last season, has been called up by manager Gemma Grainger for their next round of World Cup qualifying.
Middleton-Patel enjoyed great success with Manchester United at academy level and played across all age groups for Wales at youth level.
It caps one of the most extraordinary months for women of South Asian descent in English women’s football history, with the Sikh-Punjabi midfielder Roop Kaur bath also made his West Ham debut in early August on his first taste of senior football.
Kaur Bath, who recently joined the full-time WSL academy from West Ham and has just received his GCSE results, was given 25 minutes on the bench by manager and former England international Paul Konchesky in a game pre-season at Hashtag United.
The midfielder, who is backed by the Sporting Equals and Sky Sports partnership, showed some neat touches and put in a composed performance in front of 350 fans as she made her first appearance for the Hammers, aged just 16 and 11 days.
England junior international Simran Jhamat also completed a move to Championship side Coventry United, making his debut against his former side Bristol City last weekend.
How Sky is trying to change things
The glaring lack of ethnic diversity in the top flight of women’s football was on full display during the Women’s Euros, with England fielding an all-white starting XI in their six matches at the tournament.
sky sports recognized and began taking action to address the lack of diversity in women’s football in 2020 as part of its £30million pledge to tackle systemic racism and make a difference in communities across the Kingdom -United.
sky sports worked with dozens of current and former players from various ethnic backgrounds and tried to give them a platform to share their stories in an attempt to capture the imagination to inspire the next generation of female footballers.
Talents have been identified and reported directly to the Football Association and clubs as part of Sky Sports’ unprecedented commitment to British South Asians in football, which has also led us to dedicate a section of our website to raising awareness of South Asians in the game and to create a dedicated blog.
A number of elite and elite-potential players and their families have also been supported with mentorship and access to development opportunities off the pitch.
Earlier this year, Sky Sports also partnered with the country’s largest sports racing equality charity, Sporting Equals, which saw us supporting participation across the country, including designing the event ” Seeing Is Believing” for century-old west London sports club Indian Gymkhana.
British South Asians in football
For more stories, features and videos, visit our groundbreaking South Asians in Football page on skysports.com and the South Asians in the Game blog and stay tuned to Sky Sports News and our digital Sky Sports