Saudi Arabia has reached yet another milestone this weekend, as the women’s football team won their first international match, creating a historical moment for women in sports. The national women’s football team traveled to the Maldives the previous Sunday for a friendly match against Seychelles.
The Greens Team witnessed a victorious moment as they beat Seychelles by 2 goals. Al-Bandari Mubarak scored the first goal within the first 14 minutes, becoming the first player to score a goal for the team in history. The second goal was scored by Mariam al-Tamimi from a penalty kick during the second half. Saudi Arabia’s women football team’s newly appointed German coach Monica Stubb noted the significance of the match even before a ball was kicked. “We are facing a historic moment for Saudi women’s football,” she said. “And I would like to ask the players to enjoy this match and to be proud to be on this list and to have the opportunity to live this experience, which is only the beginning of what is to come.” she added.
On January 14, the football team kicked off its training sessions at a preparatory camp in the city of Jeddah. Later they traveled to Riyadh on 27th January to resume their second training phase before heading to the Maldives. Until the last few years, the women of Saudi were prohibited from practicing in sports in public. However, female athletes continued to change these restrictions and fought for equal representation in any games. Their victory at the match has definitely loosened some of the strict rules that are still imposed on women living in the ultra-conservative countries. Saudi leaders have also been highlighting progress on gender issues in current times and hence in 2020, it launched a women’s soccer league which organizers said would be “one more major leap forward for the future of our country.”
Following their victory over Seychelles, Saudi Football Federation’s Women’s Football Department congratulated the team via Tweet, which said: “Together, we make history.” Not only that, legendary football player Pele also congratulated the team saying: “I want to congratulate the @saudiFF and their Women’s National Football Team for their first ever official @FIFAcom match. Today is a historic day not only for you, but for everyone who loves football.”
- Mohor Bhattacharjee