Saturday 29 July 2023, 22:00

Pubu Zhima - “I couldn’t accept I can’t play because I’m a girl”

In a time marked by conflict and crisis, the world is divided. But through the power of football, the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023™ will bring people together, allowing them to unite - discovering new cultures, as part of a worldwide community and celebrating together. During the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023™, the Football Unites the World campaign will shine a spotlight on a range of social causes. Selected following extensive consultation with players and participating teams, FIFA, in partnership with several United Nations agencies, hopes to raise awareness for several important social matters. Gender equality is a fundamental human right and is critical for a peaceful and sustainable world. FIFA and UN Women are partnering to emphasise the critical importance of gender equality, raising awareness on the biggest global stage in women’s sport.

Pubu Zhima from Lhasa - Football Unites the World

As well as hearing from current players and FIFA Legends, we learned about the story of Pubu Zhima from Lhasa, the ‘place of the gods’, to hear how football has shaped her as a person, and the growing influence it can exert on others. Situated 3600 metres above sea level, Pubu fell in love with football as a child. So far, nothing unusual. She formed a women’s team, and then moved to university. But just as she was due to make her first appearance for a mixed gender team, she was refused…because of her gender.

Her experience quickly went viral. Unbowed, Pubu set out to right the wrong. Soon, she went from training alone, to being joined by more and women. From there, she became the head of the Nankai University FA and implemented a new regulation ensuring more fellow females can play. Now, she shares her experience with young children, inspiring girls like Suolang Zhuoma to follow in her footsteps and live their own dreams.

FIFA’s longstanding and valued partner, Wanda has created a marketing program to inspire hope amongst a new generation of football fans through their digital program ‘Ignite the Hope’. Pubu Zhima, is one of those stories.