Football: Parvin steps up as women's football torchbearer

Sharda Parvin will be joining Lim Kia Tong's team as the female candidate that will contest at the FAS election on April 29.
Sharda Parvin will be joining Lim Kia Tong's team as the female candidate that will contest at the FAS election on April 29.PHOTO COURTESY OF SHARDA PARVIN

Veteran football player Sharda Parvin has joined Lim Kia Tong's team as the female candidate who will contest at the upcoming Football Association of Singapore (FAS) election on April 29.

Parvin, 32, will run for the individual female member position in the FAS council. At least one female has to be in the elected 15-member council, but she does not have to join the nine-member slate.

Lim's counterpart Bill Ng has not unveiled his female candidate yet, even though Singapore National Olympic Council vice-president Annabel Pennefather and 2015 SEA Games' chief medical officer Dr Teoh Chin Sim have joined Ng's slate.

While Parvin is not as high profile as Pennefather or Teoh, she believes she knows local women's football at the ground level.

She said: "I know the scene because I've been in this sport since 2001. I know the complaints, the issues, the struggles because I'm from the ground and I'm in their shoes.

"This is the first time a female member will be in the council, and the best person to represent is someone who has been a part of women's football.

BUILDING FROM THE GROUND UP

I know the complaints, the issues, the struggles because I'm from the ground and I'm in their shoes. The best person to represent is someone who has been a part of women's football.

SHARDA PARVIN, Tanjong Pagar United footballer and Pathlight School educator, feels her credentials puts her in good stead.

"Over the years, there were many things I'm grateful for, yet there are things which I wish I could change. So now that I'm given a voice, why not?"

Parvin grew up sleeping in the living room of a three-room flat which she still shares with her grandmother, 82, and uncle, 45.

Her uncle would wake up in the middle of the night to watch football games on TV, and had brought her to the old National Stadium to watch Malaysia Cup games.

While she would play football with the boys during her secondary school days, it was only in 2001 that she joined her first competitive team at the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) Bishan.

From 2005-2007, she played in the women's league for the now-defunct Commonwealth Palace. She then played for the Nanyang Technological University team from 2007 to 2014, and became their captain in 2011.

The Liverpool fan also played for the Police Sports Association (2012-2013) and most recently, the H-Two-0 Women's Dream Team (2013-2016).

She will be playing for debutants Tanjong Pagar United in the coming Women's Premier League season.

Using her years of experience, she wants to help to strengthen the existing pipeline to develop youth and women's football at the schools and grassroots level.

"Women's football has been growing quickly and it's getting more recognition now. The Under-16 girls and youth players are doing really well," said Parvin, who is also an educator at Pathlight School.

"I hope to be able to build on that and increase the talent pool through more outreach efforts in the community level and schools."

While there is still a month to go until the election, she is raring to get started.

She said with a laugh: "I've already thought through and made notes of what I'm going to say during the first meeting."

Alvin Chia

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 22, 2017, with the headline 'Parvin steps up as women's football torchbearer'. Print Edition | Subscribe