The Bahrain women’s national football team was founded in 2003. The team represents Bahrain in international women’s football and falls under the governance of the Bahrain Football Association, which is run by the women’s committee at the Association. Although participating in several friendly tournaments, the team played their first official international game against the Maldives on April 22nd 2007, and entered the FIFA ranking list in June 2007 at 111 out of 142.
The Bahrain Women’s National Team is the first National Women’s Football Team to be formed in the GCC region. This was a big step for the island nation and it is just a part of Bahrain’s dedication towards promoting all women’s sports. In 2004, Bahrain participated in a Futsal tournament in Amman, Jordan and the next year participated in the West Asian Championship held also in the Jordanian capital, though none of the matches were FIFA officiated. The team finished in 4th place at the tournament. In February 2006 Bahrain participated in the first ever Arabian Women’s Tournament held in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. The team had been well prepared for this tournament and brought home the winner’s trophy also collecting the Fair Play trophy. After this great win, football became even more popular in the country and more girls have expressed their interest to join clubs. Wanting to improve the national team further, the committee put in a request to FIFA for a licensed female coach to lead the team. As a result the German coach Monika Staab was sent to Bahrain January 21st 2007 for a six month development program. The team played its first official FIFA approved match on April 22nd 2007 against the national women’s team of Maldives in Malé, Maldives, and won the game 7 – 0. Women football in Bahrain has been on the up since being under the guidance and leadership of women’s committee head, Sheikha Hussa bint Khalid Al Khalifa, the national team has gone on to gain much success, most notably through its participation and podium finishes in all its recent tournaments.
West Asian Football Federation Championship 2010:
Bronze medal after beating Palestine in the playoff 3 – 0.
Arabia Cup 2010:
Bronze medal in the inaugural Arabia tournament held in Bahrain, after beating Palestine in the play-off 5-1.
Player of the Tournament award handed to Al-Anoud Hamad Al Khalifa.
West Asian Football Federation Women’s Championship 2011:
Bronze medal after beating former champions Jordan in the playoff in a penalty shootout after ending the match 0 – 0
Fair Play Team Award as well as Top Scorer handed to Reem Al Hashmi in the 2011 West Asian Football Federation Women’s Championship
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 travelled 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.
Source: Hamad Al-Azz, Al Arabiya
Bahraini girls football team qualifies for junior Asia Cup – Video
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