Shunning taboos and breaking stereotypes young women footballers
are bending it like Beckham in conservative Saudi Arabia.
Wearing shorts with leggings, Saudi Arabia’s women football team played a friendly match against Bhutan at the Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Stadium in Abha
Media reported that the match ended in a 3-3 draw, marking the team’s third-ever game. The Saudi women’s team was only formed in October last year.
The team will face Bhutan once again in their fourth match in another friendly on 28 September, also to be played at home.
Saudi Arabia’s women’s team had previously only played two matches prior- one against Seychelles and the other against Maldives in February this year.
The team, known as the Green Falcons, won both matches against its counterpart earlier this year, both resulting in 2-0 victories.
German Monika Staab has coached the Saudi women’s team since August last year, and also managed the Qatari women’s team between 2012 and 2014.
Players Al-Bandari Mubarak – who previously scored the team’s first-ever goal against Seychelles -, Bayan Sadaqah, and Noura Al-Ibrahim scored the Gulf kingdom’s goals, according to the London-based Arab News.
The increase in participation of female Saudi athletes comes as the Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF) aims to encourage the inclusion of women in the sport.
In January 2018, Saudi Arabia allowed female football fans to enter the stadium and watch matches for the first time ever.
Meanwhile, the SAFF established its first official women’s regional football league, which was inaugurated in 2021, with an aim to reach 1,000 players in the “next coming years”, according to SAFF president Yasser Al-Misehal, reported Arab News.