Setting a New Goal
The Indian sports industry has become a key player in global markets. With this, the scope of pursuing a career in sports management jobs in India is huge. But how many of our sports management professionals have the right qualification? Meet Aisha Nazia Nasir Mayin from Kerala who has secured admission for a globally prestigious sports management programme with a 50% scholarship. She is one of the 30 students chosen from a pool of more than 700 applicants. It’s quite rare for women from India to get this educational opportunity in sports.
Aisha is a Mechanical Engineer by education. She hails from Kozhikode in the south Indian state of Kerala, which is known for its love for football. Aisha says, “I was raised by a single mother. My mother was a mathematics professor and hence my love for math often helped me find the optimal ways of doing things by resorting to numbers and mathematical models. I pursued a graduate degree in Mechanical engineering following my love for cars. My engineering background helps me remain curious, organised and methodical.
“Football was not new to me. It did fascinate me always. Moreover, as a kid, I had a curiosity to know what was happening at the back-end of each game. I wanted to understand how the management system worked. But I never had a plan to pursue a career in it. But I did grab every opportunity that came by me. I found sports to be my true calling and my passion.”
“I came to the sports field in 2015 by volunteering for the National Games. I was a student at TKM College of Engineering, Kollam then. That was a wonderful experience. I got an opportunity to network with many. Later I started working part-time for the Kerala Blasters football club. I joined IndianOil – Adani Gas after finishing my engineering degree. I continued to associate with Kerala Blasters. In 2017, I was selected to work for the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup in a people management position. That was a full-time assignment for 7 to 8 months. The FIFA event was a turning point. I understood my potential to make some unique contributions. Realising my destiny in sports, I quit the Indian Oil job to concentrate on my sports management career.”
During her five-year-long career in sports, Aisha has worked for several major sports events like NBA India Games 2019 and Indian Super League.
She says, “Living in a community that is obsessed with football, it always remained on the fringes of my childhood experience. My first sporting stint was in 2015 when I volunteered for the National Games Football Tournament. I enjoyed the buzz and the experience seeing a larger than life spectacle come to fruition.”
Develop Sports Culture
Aisha sees the master’s programme as an opportunity to learn sports management in the best possible way. Aisha says, “This programme will help me gain a global outlook regarding sport and how sport is managed. I will also benefit from the diverse set of peers I would get to work and engage with while pursuing the program. My goal is to facilitate a paradigm shift in India’s sports industry. My focus would be on improving the landscape of sports, promoting our presence globally, uplifting the younger generations and regional entities, and various other humanitarian activities. I want to help companies in India to develop a better sports culture.
“Also, I want to bring a wider awareness among Indian parents about the sports industry. Most of them know about players and coaches only. They should know everyone involved in running a successful sports event. Opportunities for people with a passion for sports are vast.”
Aisha has launched a fundraiser on the crowdfunding platform – Ketto, to meet her course expenses. She says, “My master’s programme is extremely expensive. I need 25 lakhs ($35000) for the other 50% of the course expenses. Students from most middle-class families especially woman often have to keep aside their higher education dreams from prestigious western universities despite being highly meritorious due to lack of financial aid or the fear of hefty educational loans becoming a burden to their financial independence.
“Educational crowdfunding is not so popular in India. People are not able to differentiate the meaning of charity and crowdfunding. Another goal of my fundraiser is to pave way for millions of students in this country to crowdfund their educational expense to pursue their dreams. It has to eventually evolve to empower individuals who can’t afford basic or higher education without an education loan. Even the smallest of your donations could help each student in need. I will be donating any extra money as well as a part of this campaign to other female students from India trying to raise funds for their higher education degree.”
She adds, “Growing up in India as the daughter of a single mom, I was constantly faced with challenges, judgments and setbacks. I have aspired to break the shackles imposed by society on Indian women. I never stopped dreaming of working with global sporting brands knowing it was a long shot, hopefully inspiring little girls all over the country to pick up sport; as a player, manager or as a passion.”
If you wish to help Aisha to pursue her dream degree, please visit this link on Ketto: https://www.ketto.org/fundraiser/help-me-fund-my-university-expenses-and-pursue-my-dream-degree