Football proving popular for Palestinian women

The spread of female football clubs across Palestinian territories has shown that eager young women have put aside traditional drawbacks to slowly halt male monopoly over the game.

Within eight years, football has spread quickly among female players, becoming the favorite sport of Palestinian women.

Hundreds of the women play in 20 private teams and compete in championships across the West Bank and Gaza strip.

The players choose to defy social conservatism, which disapproves of women playing football, calling it a man’s sport.

Haya Daraghma, the goalkeeper of Palestine’s first national women’s team, says being a female and wearing the Islamic headscarf while playing is not a hindrance.

“Wearing the hijab was never an obstacle, not in our lives or to our participation at international championships,” Daraghma told Al Arabiya.

Some families choose to support their daughters, such as the mother of Palestinian player Aya Khattab.

Aya’s mother, Samira Shalalda, says girls should be given the opportunity to achieve what they want.

“There are enrooted mindsets in society that need to be overcome regarding that football is for men only. Let’s give girls their chance. They have proven themselves,” Shalalda said.

The Palestinian players are in preparations to join the 2014 WAFF (West Asia Football Federation) Championship for women, to be held in the Jordanian capital Amman next month.

Last Update: 19:09 KSA 22:09 - GMT 19:09