Saudi women’s football team plays first ever home match

Saudi national football team player. Image (Twitter)

Saudi Arabia’s women’s football team has played a match on home soil for the first time ever.

The team, most of whom were not wearing hijabs or observing Islamic coverings, drew 3-3 against Bhutan on Saturday at the Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Stadium in Abha.

The match marked the team’s third-ever game, having only formed in October last year.

Their previous matches were against Seychelles and the Maldives in February this year. The team, known as the Green Falcons, won both matches 2-0.

German Monika Staab has coached the Saudi women’s team since August last year.

The Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF) is aiming to encourage the inclusion of women in sport.

In January 2018, Saudi Arabia allowed female football fans to enter stadiums and watch matches for the first time ever.

The SAFF has also 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.

A female national football team would have been unthinkable in conservative Saudi Arabia just a few years ago. But since Mohammed bin Salman became de facto ruler he has introduced a number of liberalisation policies including music concerts, allowing women to drive and reducing gender segregation.

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