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Islamabad air crash kills budding woman footballer

world Updated: Jul 29, 2010 11:21 IST

The ill-fated passenger flight that crashed into the mountains near Islamabad also killed a budding Pakistani female footballer who was going to take part in the National Women's Championship in the capital city.

Meesha Dawood, who was only 19, had to convince her parents to let her fly to Islamabad to join the Karachi-based Diya football club that is taking part in the national event.

According to her friends and teammates, Meesha didn't reach Islamabad with the rest of the team because her parents were not allowing her initially.

"She was coming in today after a few days delay because she had to convince her parents to give her permission," friend Sara Khan said.

"She was passionate about football, the last time she played in the championship two years ago, she scored a hat-trick," Sara said.

The government said all 152 passengers and crew on board the Air Blues flight had been killed in the crash on Wednesday morning.

Diya football club from Karachi dedicated their match on Wednesday's 2-0 against the much stronger Punjab side to her memory. Both the teams also observed a minute's silence to pay tributes to Meesha.

"We felt that we should go ahead with the match today because there was no better way to remember Meesha who was a big football enthusiast and full of life," said a teammate.

In Pakistan's conservative society, girls don't get encouragement to take up sports and many meet resistance from family and relatives if they decide to play.

Because of the taboos surrounding girls and sports, the Pakistan Football Federation does not allow unaccompanied males into the stadium during the National championship.

The players have to wear baggy track suits and are not allowed to wear shorts.