Zaiba Ishaque, a talented football player, has signed a contract with the Manchester United women’s team for players under 21. This is a historic achievement because she’s the first British-Pakistani female footballer to move up the ranks in an English Women’s Super League team.
At just 17 years old, Ishaque is part of a small group of British South Asians who are doing well in English women’s football. Some others in this group include Mariam Mahmood at West Bromwich Albion, Layla Banaras at Birmingham City, and Pakistani national team players Nadia Khan (Doncaster Rovers Belles), Zahmena Malik (London Seaward), and Amina Hanif (London Bees).
Ishaque’s football journey started when one of her school teachers, who also coached at Burnley FC’s academy, saw her talent and encouraged her to join the club’s youth team. Later, she went to Liverpool FC’s academy, but she had a setback when a knee injury kept her from playing for almost a year.
After recovering, she spent three years at Manchester City’s academy, where she did well in the U14s and U16s teams before moving to Manchester United in July 2022.