‘Destined to Play’: FIFA+ documentary tells journey of Saudi women’s national team

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The Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF) announced on Friday the premiere of ‘Destined to Film,’ a FIFA+ documentary that showcases the extraordinary journey of the Saudi Arabian women’s national football team.

The 45-minute documentary provides a never-seen-before look into the establishment and growth of the senior women’s national football team.

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‘Destined to Play’ allows viewers to see the rapidly evolving world of the women’s game in Saudi Arabia by coming along with the players, technical staff, and all those involved in the squad during four matches.

Women’s football in Saudi Arabia has seen unimaginable growth and is arguably one of the most exciting stories in world football today.

SAFF’s dedicated Women’s Football Department has taken massive strides across every aspect of the game in recent years.

Not only was a senior, U-17 and a futsal national team established but since 2019, a Premier League and First Division have both been launched.

A Schools League featuring 48,000 girls and 3,600 participating schools was also introduced.

Last year alone, SAFF saw an 86 percent increase in registered female players.

Saudi National Women's Team. (Supplied)
Saudi National Women's Team. (Supplied)

Following the immense success of the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023, ‘Destined to Play’ builds on the popularity of the ‘All Roads Lead Down Under’ FIFA+ original documentary, which provides an intimate, behind-the-scenes portrayal of the journey undertaken by over 170 women’s teams to qualify for the tournament.

The Saudi Arabian women’s national team carries similar dreams of one day reaching the FIFA Women’s World Cup. It has already made impressive progress since its establishment in 2021 in its journey of doing so.

After competing in nine matches, including winning a hosted friendly tournament, the team made history by entering the official FIFA/Coca-Cola Women’s World Ranking for the first time earlier this year.

Saudi National Women's Team. (Supplied)
Saudi National Women's Team. (Supplied)

“This special and inspiring film shares our journey, passion and unwavering love for football through very powerful stories. I’m certain that ‘Destined to Play’ will surprise and unite a lot of fans around the world,” Lamia Bahaian, Vice President of the Saudi Arabian Football Federation, said.

“Today, young girls across Saudi Arabia are paving their way of following their dream of representing their country, and this documentary will only help them realise its possibility even more,” Bahaian added.

Viewers will also hear first-hand from the players who made their dreams a reality, including 28-year-old captain Bayan Sadagah, 26-year-old goalkeeper Sarah Khalid and 22-year-old midfielder Layan Jouhari.

Inspired by a football-loving family that included an uncle who professionally played for her same club – Al Ittihad – Jouhari said: “All men, in general, in the family dreamt of playing for Saudi Arabia.”

“When they saw their little girl playing in the national team, I remember my brother telling me, ‘You’re not just living your dream, you’re living our dream’. That moment gave me goosebumps that really hit hard; that was such a crazy moment - it’s bigger than just you,” the midfielder said.

“Our team’s journey since 2021 has been nothing short of incredible. It brings us great joy to know that, through this documentary, the football world can further recognise the progress of our game. It is an exciting story that will grip audiences and truly reveal the passion everyone in our country has for football. We know we still have a long road ahead towards achieving our goals, and we invite the world to join us on our journey towards creating new opportunities for the women’s game,” Supervisor of SAFF’s Women’s Football Department Aalia Al Rasheed said.

‘Destined to Play’ is available to watch on Fifa+’s website.

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