KARACHI       -    Two Thari girls Jamna and Devi would participate in ‘Gothia Cup’ (The World Youth Football Cup) taking place in Qingdao province of China from August 10 to 17.

Both Pakistani girls Jamna and Devi belong to Tehsil Islamkot of Tharparkar district and were enrolled in Thar Foundation school campuses of their respective villages of Aban Jo Tarr and Jeando Dars. The two female students and aspiring footballers have never participated in an international tournament and will now get a chance to represent Pakistan in an all-expense paid trip to The Gothia Football Tournament, which is considered as the world’s biggest youth football tournament.

The girls have been part of a 10-day training camp in Karachi, where apart from playing practice matches, they have been attending grooming classes. Both girls see this as an opportunity of a life time for themselves and for the other Thari girls.

According to Devi’s uncle, “This is actually unheard of and it is hard for me to believe that my niece will be travelling abroad and that too for playing a sport like football which is an alien sports in this region. In my 50 plus years of life, I have never heard a boy, let alone a girl, travel out of Tharparkar to play sports at international level. I am grateful to Thar Foundation and Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company for providing this opportunity.”

Sabeen Shah, Manager Education Program of Thar Foundation, said: “Engro is focused in its mission deploy inclusive growth model in Tharparkar, and sustainable growth can only come about if we focus on education – especially on the agenda of educating the girl-child.”

“At Thar Foundation schools, we believe that by providing such opportunities to students we can help them actualize their potential and display their talent. I’ve been working with these girls from the very beginning, and, so it’s a dream come true in many ways because we are finally taking them to this tournament after months of hard work.”

Gothia Cup is the world’s largest international youth football tournament organized by professional football club BK Häcken and has been held annually since 1975 in Gothenburg, Sweden. Each year, around 1700 teams from 80 nations take part and they play 4500 games on 110 fields. Considered as the biggest tournament in the world in terms of participating teams, competing youth teams throughout the world enter the competition. A meeting place for the world’s youth, irrespective of religion, skin color or nationality, with football as the common denominator.