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Meet the players competing in the first women’s football league in Saudi Arabia

Published: Updated:

A female football team in Saudi Arabia hopes to become the best in the country’s first women’s football league.

Dribbling and kicking a ball across a football field is a dream come true for Saudi player Mariam Alangari. The young woman is part of a newly formed football team in the Kingdom, established after the government allowed the formation of an amateur league for women on November 17.

“Finally! I’m so happy that there is a chance to achieve my dream. I used to play abroad but now thank God I can play in my country, and if God is willing, I will get the chance to become a professional player,” said Alangari, who dreams of one day become a professional player.

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Saudi Arabia's first women's football league officially kicked off in November after initially being postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

At a training session for the Eastern Flames Football Club in Saudi Arabia’s Al Khobar, a total of 52 players of various ages ran dribbling and passing drills, running up and down a large field in the city.

“We train them and develop their skills in different ways including overall fitness, neuromuscular compatibility, football skills, and more. Hopefully, we will help them become professional players,” said coach of Eastern Flames FC, Maram Albutairi.

The coach said she had received many certificates from FIFA and has previously worked with the UAE national team. “Hopefully, we can win many tournaments,” she added.

The historic Saudi Women’s Football league will see 24 teams across Jeddah, Riyadh and Dammam competing for a championship cup and a $133,000 cash prize.

“As a mother of one of the players here, the Saudi player Renad Alghamdi, I’m so proud of her, and I will support her, and she will be a bright name in the future since the field is open now in Saudi Arabia,” one supportive mother of a female football player said.

The mother said she was happy her daughter “can live her dream and do the thing she loves, the things that we couldn’t do before.”

In February 2020, Saudi Arabia launched its first women’s football league, the latest step in the Kingdom’s wide-reaching reform of its sport and entertainment sectors. \

The Saudi Sports for All Federation (SFA) inaugurated the official Women’s Football League (WFL) at a launch event in Riyadh. The WFL will launch next season with matches being played in the cities of Riyadh, Jeddah, and Dammam.

- With Reuters.

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