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Manama: Mahfuza Akhter Kiron completed a remarkable journey when she became Asia’s female representative on the FIFA Council as world football’s governing body met last week in Manama, Bahrain.

Mahfuza was the first graduate from the FIFA Female Leadership Programme to make the journey to the FIFA Council. In addition, she has also completed the UEFA Leadership Programme as well as being recognised in her native Bangladesh with a special award in April for her contribution to the development of women’s sport.

After returning from her election to the FIFA Council, Mahfuza said: “It is a tremendous honour for me to be elected as the first Bangladeshi ever on FIFA’s ruling body. It is a wonderful moment for not only Bangladesh but also for the South Zone of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).

“We have around a third of the world’s population in the South Zone and it is important that they have a voice at the top table of sport – especially as football is developing rapidly in countries like India and my own Bangladesh.

“I have been particularly pleased at the development of women’s football in the region and proud of the progress that the Bangladesh women’s team has made.”

Mahfuza is the chair of the Bangladesh Football Federation Women’s Wing and was the deputy chair of the South Asian Football Federation Women’s Wing. She was also a member of the organising committee for the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Papua New Guinea last year which was won by DPR Korea.

Her involvement in sport stretches beyond football – where she is a member of the Bangladesh Football Federation Executive Committee and served as a team member of the Bangladesh National Team at the South Asian Games in Dhaka in 2010.

She became involved in sport in 1996 when she joined the Bangladesh Women’s Sports Council serving as an executive committee member and general secretary for several years. Mafhuza added: “I moved from being a sport fan to being an administrator because I wanted to eliminate the barriers to women taking part in sport. That and developing women’s sport remains my objective in football.”

Photo: FIFA