Joyann Geraldine Thomas, a 17-year-old thin and humble girl who became the first Catholic Christian to play football for Pakistan.
She lives in a compound in Karachi where most of the Christian families live – the oldest part of Karachi.
She liked the game of football from the very young age and at just seven, after seeing a video of the legend Brazilian player, Pele, she decided she wanted to become a footballer.
“I started playing football with boys and some other girls in the nearby compound, and with each passing day my interest in the game of football continued to grow further,” she said. “My aim was high and nothing could stop me from achieving the goal of playing for a Pakistan side. But yet there was a fear of being minority,” she added.
Joyann’s fear wasn’t superficial – but based on reality. Her mother, Joyce Christina, quit sports because of discrimination, despite being a gold medalist in the 1,500 meter event.
Unfortunately the persecution of minorities in Pakistan is still present – 45 people from the Ismaili [minority] community had been gunned-down indiscriminately in Karachi, where Joyann lives. According to the official statistics, Pakistani Christians account for less than two percent of the country’s total population… see more