Football is no longer dominated by men in the Gulf region. Now a lot of girls are keen to join the sport. The Bahraini junior football team for girls offers a live example of how popular this sport has become among females.
“Compared to other sports, football is considered relatively new both for Bahrain and the Gulf region. Bahrain was the first country in the region to have a women’s football team. We have the first under-16 girls’ team. This is quite an achievement. Another achievement is the fact that we qualified for the Asian championship from the first time. I hope this will encourage other countries in the Gulf to take part and to form women’s teams as well,” said Sheikha Hessa bint Khaled al-Khalifa, head of Bahrain’s young women football team.
Women’s football has started to gain momentum in the Arab world, especially after families started accepting their daughters joining football teams, which had not until recently been very common in the society.
“Families encourage their girls. Half the families of the girls in the team are here and traveled with us for the championship. This shows you how families are keen to support the girls of the team. I am proud of the support parents provide because they appreciate football as a sport and appreciate the fact their daughters are athletic and represent their country’s team,” said al-Khalifa.
“The mentality is changing and we are witnessing constant progress. More families are encouraging their daughters whether in schools or national teams. There is no doubt that Bahraini families are offering a great deal of support for girls,” a mother of a player.
In short, football knows no gender and does not distinguish between males and females as long as keenness and determination are the main motives behind the practicing of sports in general.