KOCHI: Having been instrumental in managing premier sporting events including the FIFA Under-17 World cup, National Games, Indian Super League and NBA India Games, Aisha Nazia is no stranger to sports management. She is now one of the 32 candidates selected from across the world for the FIFA endorsed, postgraduate sports executive program, FIFA Master, organised in partnership with De Montfort University (United Kingdom), SDA Bocconi School of Management (Italy) and the University of Neuchâtel (Switzerland).
The 26-year-old who hails from Kozhikode is the only Indian woman to be selected for the course International master in Sports humanities, history, management, and law.
More than the game, what intrigues Aisha the most is its managerial aspects - dealing with players, referees, inspection, and ensuring that each match runs smooth.
Aisha was also working as a mechanical engineer at the Indian Oil-Adani Gas, Kochi.
“Whenever there is a sporting event I am interested in, I used to take sabbaticals. Since the company was aware of my passion, they encouraged me. To take my passion to bigger heights, I quit my job later,” says Aisha, who was the Kerala University rank holder in mechanical engineering in 2016.
Of the 32 selected candidates, Aisha is one among three to have secured a merit scholarship, which has halved her course fee.
“This year, the selection was done from a pool of over 700 applicants. The three-module program will be taught in three universities across Europe. For this, I still have to raise I 28 lakh,” says Aisha. For the course that begins in September, the youngster has now put out a crowdfunding request.
Aisha aspires to utilise the exposure she gets from the course for the development of the Indian sports ecosystem.
“I am planning to focus more on inclusion, youth development and help talents who are struggling to nourish due to varied reasons. I also wish to come up with a sustainable solution to cut down the carbon footprint during a tournament,” says Aisha.
Crowdfunding, not charity
Aisha thought of many alternatives before she zeroed in on crowdfunding.
“Since I have already availed a housing loan, I can’t take another bank loan without collateral,” she added.
While she was looking for other options, a mentor of her’s who works at NASA suggested crowdfunding. Before going ahead, she put the idea out on Linkedin to get some feedback.
“Over 80 per cent stood for the idea. Most of them had to step away from following dreams due to financial constraints. Education is a basic necessity. I decided to go forward with it to raise money and also inspire more people to fight for their dreams,” explains Aisha. Find Aisha on Ketto
Apart from academics, the one-year-programme is packed with 80 field trips to the elite clubs and headquarters of international sports organisations like FIFA, FIBA,etc.
Aisha aspires to contribute the exposure received for the Indian sporting ecosystem.