West Brom Women have been contacted about Mariam Mahmood’s availability to play for Pakistan following the striker’s recent interview with Sky Sports News.
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 has come through the ranks and established herself as an important part of the first-team squad.
That caught the attention of scouts trying to rebuild Pakistani women’s football after the Pakistan Football Federation’s international suspension due to undue third-party interference was recently overturned by FIFA.
Sources close to Mahmood have told Sky Sports News the 18-year-old is “honoured” to be considered for international selection by Pakistan. Sky Sports News has also been told the striker’s sole focus right now is on continuing her development as a footballer to try and fulfil her potential.
Pakistan, who have not played an international match since 2014, are putting together a team to play in the South Asian Football Federation Women’s Championship in Nepal, kicking off next month.
Former England Colleges international Mahmood has become a fans’ favourite at the club and recently featured in West Brom’s kit launch for the new season.
The striker is highly rated by West Brom director of football Dave Lawrence and manager Jenny Sugarman, and has impressed in pre-season, scoring three goals in four friendlies despite not playing 90 minutes in those games.
West Brom open their National League Northern Premier Division campaign at home to Midlands rivals Nottingham Forest on August 21 as they target promotion to the FA Women’s Championship.
Jhamat set to join Coventry United
Trailblazing England youth international Simran Jhamat is set to make an emotional return to Coventry United, Sky Sports News understands.
Sky Sports News revealed last year Jhamat was leaving Lewes FC and joining Bristol City Women, becoming the first player of South Asian heritage in the club’s history.
The 21-year-old is now poised to start the new campaign at Coventry United, who beat all odds to preserve their Championhip status at the expense of Watford on the final day of last season in one of the most dramatic finishes to English league campaign ever.
Coventry went into administration and were deducted 10 points last January before being saved by local businessman Lewis Taylor. They were bottom for virtually the whole season and needed to win at Watford, with Mollie Green eventually scoring an incredible 97th-minute winner with the last kick of the game.
Jhamat hails from Walsall and was spotted playing for local club Sporting Khalsa at junior level, before being snapped up by Aston Villa’s Girls’ Centre of Excellence where she spent seven seasons before joining Liverpool in 2017.
The Sikh-Punjabi attacker spent a year at Leicester City, followed by a six-month spell at Coventry United in 2020, before moving South to Lewes.
Jhamat has earned international recognition across different England youth age groups and became the first Punjabi girl to score at competitive level for England’s U17s when she netted in a 6-0 Euro qualifying win against Slovakia.
Chaudhry follows Kaur Bath to West Ham
Meanwhile, Azwa Chaudhry has followed in the path of former London Bees team-mate Roop Kaur Bath by joining West Ham’s youth setup.
Kaur Bath hit the headlines earlier this month after joining West Ham’s full-time WSL academy, before being handed her first-team debut by manager Paul Konchesky in a pre-season friendly against Hashtag United, aged just 16 years and 11 days.
Berkshire-born Chaudhry is 16 months Kaur Bath’s junior, but turned out alongside the Hammers midfielder for the London Bees U16 side in more than one Junior Premier League game last season.
The West Ham United Foundation, who run the club’s girls’ football programmes up to the age of 16, has just been named as one of 60 Girls’ Emerging Talent Centres nationwide. Seven of those licences have been awarded in London.
Attacking midfielder Chaudhry, who is supported by the Sporting Equals and Sky Sports partnership, played at Wycombe Wanderers and QPR prior to trialling at London Bees, where she instantly impressed coaches with her ball mastery and shooting ability.
She now begins the next chapter of her journey with West Ham under respected coach Alfie Crickmar.
The glaring lack of ethnic diversity at the elite end of the women’s game was brought sharply into focus during the Women’s Euros, with England fielding an all-white starting XI in all six of their matches at the tournament.
Sky Sports recognised and began taking steps to address the lack of diversity in the women’s game back in 2020 as part of its £30m commitment to tackle systemic racism and make a difference in communities across the UK.
Sky Sports has worked with dozens of current and former players from diverse ethnic backgrounds, and has tried to give them a platform to share their stories to try and capture the imagination to inspire the next generation of female footballers.
Talent has been identified and signposted directly to the Football Association and clubs as part of Sky Sports’ unprecedented commitment to British South Asians in Football, which has also seen us devote a section of our website to raising awareness about South Asians in The Game, and create a dedicated rolling blog.
A number of elite and elite-potential female players and their families have also been supported with mentoring and access to off-field developmental opportunities.
Earlier this year, Sky Sports also partnered with the country’s largest sports race equality charity, Sporting Equals, which has seen us support participation across the country, including devising the ‘Seeing Is Believing’ event for century-old west London sports club Indian Gymkhana.
For more stories, features and videos, visit our groundbreaking South Asians in Football page on skysports.com and South Asians in the Game blog and stay tuned to Sky Sports News and our Sky Sports digital platforms.