“Ladies Green”… Ambitious dreams and rapid steps towards globalization
Saudi Arabia’s entry into the arena of competition to host the 2026 AFC Women’s Asian Cup was not just a routine step on the international sports scene.
While some people take many years in new fields, including sports, to learn the (secret of the profession), this did not take long for those in charge of the Saudi Football Association, so soon the women’s football quickly entered the orbit of professionalism and experience, and the Saudi women’s team stormed the list of world rankings, and occupied The 171st place out of 188 centers, and immediately set its sights on an ambitious goal, which is to ensure qualification for the FIFA Women’s World Cup competitions. .
And while women were allowed to attend the stands of sports stadiums in 2018, the Saudi Football Association established in 2019 the first administration for women’s football for football, and the first Saudi women’s futsal team was established, and in 2020 the first official community league was launched under the umbrella of the Saudi Federation for Sports for All under the supervision of the federation. Saudi football.
In 2021, the first Saudi women’s football team was established for grass courts, and German coach Monica Stapp was appointed as the first coach. She is now in charge of managing the Saudi national teams and developing Saudi women’s football, and Finnish Rosa Lappi took her place in training the green women.
In 2022, the Saudi women’s team played the first international match in its career with Seychelles, which ended with two goals for nothing. The first regional training center for female youth players under the age of 17 was established, and Saudi female youth have a new international presence. Where they played the first two friendly matches with the Kuwaiti national team led by the Croatian Stella Gutal, and lost the first match by 4 goals to one, while they won the second match with a score of 3-2.
In the same year, the first Saudi league for girls’ schools was launched, and the Saudi women’s futsal team participated in the Gulf Games in Kuwait, and the Kingdom hosted the West Asian Futsal Championship with the participation of Al-Akhdar.
The achievements of the women of Al-Akhdar were completed by entering the international football classification (FIFA) in the 171st place out of 188 teams, and Yasser Al-Mishal, President of the Saudi Football Association, crowned the Saudi women’s team in its first international championship in Dammam, and the competitions took place with the participation of 4 teams: Comoros and Pakistan. Mauritius in addition to green.
The Saudi national team has enjoyed tremendous support in the past two years from the Saudi Football Association. Where he drew a strategic plan to be at the forefront in the coming years, so that he would advance in the world rankings and lead the Asian women’s teams, as is the case with the Saudi men’s team.
Al-Akhdar was under the responsibility of Adwaa Al-Arifi when she was working in the Football Association before assuming the position of Assistant Minister of Sports, where she assumed the responsibility of supervising women’s football, followed by Lamia Bint Bahian, Vice President of the Saudi Football Association, and Alia Al-Rasheed, Director of Women’s Football.
In previous statements, Lamia bin Bahian said: “Our entry into the world rankings means a lot to us. It is a tremendous achievement for women’s football in the Kingdom, and we have been distinguished by great successes in a few years since the announcement of the establishment of the Saudi women’s national team, and I assure you that everything that has been achieved until this moment is just the beginning of what will come in the future. Our ambitions are vast and limitless.”
For her part, German Monica Stapp recently handed the banner over to Finnish coach Rose Lapi Seppala, but the influence of Stapp, the former coach and current coach of the Saudi women’s national team, is still tangible in the new chapters of the story of Saudi women’s football.
Stapp said about her experience in coaching the national team: “It was an amazing journey when I assumed the task of coaching the national team, and I was part of history in the first international match of (FIFA) classification that the Saudi women’s team played in the Maldives against Seychelles. We were able to win, and it was great to see the passion of the green women and to play with sportsmanship and high competition.”
She added, “We received 800 requests to join the national team, of which we selected 35. The search for the best players has been a long journey, and I think going to the Maldives was the best moment in the lives of the 25 players who have been part of this journey of success.
Monica explained that (the success of the Saudi women’s team will have an impact on all Arab countries, and that the matter is achievable, and it is a good model for everyone, and the women of Al-Akhdar are to be followed by many countries that are witnessing a state of development).
Monica continued, “I worked with FIFA for many years as an expert, and I understand the importance of FIFA providing such programs, and we look forward to playing football in all member national federations, not just in Saudi Arabia.”
For her part, Alia Al-Rasheed, Director of the Women’s Football Department in the Saudi Football Association, emphasized the amazing development of women’s football in the Kingdom recently (and this is not limited to the formation of the national team, but in 2022 the Premier League and the First Division League were launched, in addition to the schools league, which included 50 players). 1,000 girls, with the participation of about 3,600 schools.
Al-Rasheed added: “There are currently four regional training centers in the Kingdom, and we worked on training (physical education) female teachers by organizing a training course with the aim of preparing them to train and develop female players in schools. There are three active teams and 23 people in the department working to develop the pyramid of women’s football.
For his part, Ibrahim Al-Qassem, Secretary General of the Saudi Football Federation, confirmed that the Kingdom has become a stronghold for football, with his federation confirming its request to host the Asian Nations Cup in 2026. And he added, “There is a challenge within the Saudi Football Federation about whether the men’s or women’s team will be Race for achievements in the World Cup. Saudi Arabia is a destination for football tournaments, and it will host the Club World Cup later in the year.