We all know that football has always been a game of boys, but who knew that the world is overloaded by tons of women football frenzy! Who said Hijabi girls can’t rock sports? Surprising as it sounds, things related to sports and gender seems to be changing nowadays especially in the country like India where women are always seen running off from sports. Hadiya Hakeem, a Plus II student at Chendamangallur Higher Secondary School proved that females here are no less than a die-hard football freaks! Her incredible freestyle football skills have not just only amused us but thousands of others. From being a regular student to an inspiration, her journey has just started.
The viral girl- Hadiya Hakeem
On January 7th, a girl approached the school authority of Chendamangallur Higher Secondary School to allow her showcase her football skills during the interval on the ongoing annual soccer tournament. Nobody knew or imagined that this girl is going to become an overnight sensation! Her name is Hadiya Hakeem, a 17- years- old, who shocked the school with her incredibly smooth freestyle football moves. The way she tossed the ball between her legs then kick it in the air and again smoothly landing the ball on her feet without touching the ground gave goosebumps to even the most athletic among them. Hadiya is now flooded with several football tournament invites!
“I was keen to play football but there’s no opportunity for girls here. There is not even a girl’s football team here. So, I wished to make use of the interval of the tournament and exhibit my skill,” says Hadiya Hakeem.
Hadiya Hakeem was born in Qatar and spend the major part of her childhood over there. Since childhood she was interested in football and learned the basic skills by watching over her brothers playing the sport! Her love for football can be justified well as her own father, Abdul Hakeem is a former football player. She drew her love for football practicing it inside her room for hours. She was also the part of school’s women soccer team. When she passed out class 10th, her family moved to Chendamangallur, Kerala. After leaving the country, Hadiya realized that this new place has no opportunity for females to pursue sport as a career. Her school too does not have any specific football team for girls even the local clubs has opportunities only for men. But this didn’t let her dream locked inside the walls of circumstances instead she never stopped her bonding with the ball as she continued practicing freestyle indoor. And this time, she used the opportunity of the ongoing soccer tournament to showcase her skills and left the audience with the ‘aww’ of amazement! While talking about her idols, she says that she had been greatly inspired by Mohammed Salah and Christiano Ronaldo.
“She has given goosebumps to all of us. Hadiya is a big motivation for not only students but also teachers,” said Saleem, Hadiya Hakeem’s school teacher.
She says that the gender segregation in schools are very much evident on the fields where girls are only seen playing badminton or gossiping while boys go around playing games like soccer or cricket! And this statement sadly is the unfortunate reality of the country. In India, since a very young age, boys and girls are treated and raised very differently. Where on one hand boys are appreciated playing sports, girls are forced to learn household chores. Boys are raised as tough whereas girls as fragile and weak. Boys are asked to protect girls and girls are never asked to protect boys. This gap between girls and boys takes the shape of gender segregation when they reach adulthood. We need to start understanding that celebrating the natural differences between both the genders is appreciable but exaggerating these difference and defining norms as what is right for whom and what is wrong, is really going to take us nowhere. Girls like Hadiya Hakeem are inspiring millions around but on the contrary we also need to look at the boys who are portraying the same skills. Where are they? Who knows their names? But most importantly why girls are being empowered and not men? These are some of the most hard hitting questions that doesn’t need an answer but instead a recognition.