Saudi women’s national football team wins its first-ever international tournament

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Saudi Arabia women’s national football team has won its first-ever trophy after claiming victory in a four-team tournament held in the Kingdom featuring the hosts, Pakistan, Mauritius, and Comoros.

Saudi Arabia recorded a 1-1 draw in its final match of the tournament against Pakistan on Thursday night to top the Women’s International Friendly Tournament table with 7 points.

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Saudi Arabia opened the scoreline through Al Bandary Mubarak’s first half strike. The result came after wins against Mauritius 1-0, through Mariam Al Tamimi’s goal from the penalty spot, and Comoros 2-0, following goals from Noura Ibrahim and Dalia Adel. Pakistan finished second in the table with 4 points, with Comoros and Mauritius following with 3 points respectively.

Saudi Arabia women’s national football team has won its first-ever trophy after claiming victory in a four-team tournament held in the Kingdom featuring the hosts, Pakistan, Mauritius, and Comoros. (Supplied)
Saudi Arabia women’s national football team has won its first-ever trophy after claiming victory in a four-team tournament held in the Kingdom featuring the hosts, Pakistan, Mauritius, and Comoros. (Supplied)



Individually it was a success for Saudi Arabia too, with Sarah Khalid winning best goalkeeper of the tournament having conceded just one goal. Meanwhile, Pakistan’s Maria Jamila Khan claimed the best player award, with Comoros’ Onalaya Ali receiving the top scorer award.

In addition to the success of the national team players, the tournament was also a cause for celebration with Anoud al-Asmari officiating her first match as an official FIFA referee.

Al-Asmari, appointed to the FIFA list at the beginning of 2023, is the first Saudi woman referee to be awarded a prestigious FIFA badge.

Thursday’s milestone moment marks another chapter in the transformation of the women’s game in Saudi Arabia.

It was the first time a women’s 11-a-side international tournament had been hosted in the country, with all matches held at the Prince Saud bin Jalawi Stadium in the Eastern Province.

Lamia Bahaian, supervisor of the Women’s Football Department and board member at the Saudi Arabian Football Federation, said: “This is a momentous day in Saudi Arabian football, and we congratulate the talented players in the women’s national team, as well as all the management, coaching and staff members, on this wonderful achievement. We are all very proud.”

“Winning this tournament will inspire many young girls across the Kingdom to become involved in football and experience all the joys that the beautiful game offers.”

“We thank each of Comoros, Pakistan, and Mauritius for coming to Saudi Arabia to participate in the tournament, wish them the best of luck in their own women’s football development initiatives, and look forward to facing them on the field again in the future.”

Thursday’s milestone moment marks another chapter in the transformation of the women’s game in Saudi Arabia. (Supplied)
Thursday’s milestone moment marks another chapter in the transformation of the women’s game in Saudi Arabia. (Supplied)

Monika Staab, the Saudi Arabia Head Coach, said: “Winning this tournament is an important milestone in Saudi Arabian football and will give the players huge confidence as they progress their national team careers. I am delighted with the players and how they performed over the past three games triumph – it provides a huge springboard for future success.”

“It is a success that very much constitutes inspiration for young girls across every corner of Saudi Arabia as well as the other talented, young players in the Premier League who aspire to play international football.”

Significant advancements have been made since the establishment of a dedicated women’s football department at the Saudi Arabian Football Federation four years ago in 2019.

There are now 520 registered players, over 1,000 D, C and B-licensed coaches, 25 clubs and almost 50,000 girls in the inaugural schools’ league.

This progress comes from a long-term strategy launched last year by the federation to grow interest and participation at all levels of the women’s game, with investments in grassroots, player development, coaching, facilities, competitions and governance.

Saudi Arabia has been making a name for itself on the international footballing stage. As the number one sport in Saudi Arabia, football has continued to gain prominence and momentum in recent years especially following the recent victory for the national team over Argentina in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, with the entire squad based in Saudi Arabia.

This month also saw Portuguese footballer and five-time Ballon D’or winner Cristiano Ronaldo arrive in Saudi Arabia after his historic signing with the al-Nassr Football Club.

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