The Saudi women’s national football squad is set to leave King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh on Thursday for the Maldives, where they will officially take part in the team’s first international match.
After completing a training camp in Saudi Arabia, the team’s German coach Monika Staab finalized the list of players that will take on the Seychelles on Feb. 20, before playing their second match against the Maldives four days later in the capital city of Male.
These two matches are Saudi Arabia’s first official fixtures as they look to gain FIFA certification.
Staab stressed that the goal of this mini-tournament is to gain experience: “Our goal is for the players to gain the experience necessary to play international matches, in addition to our aim for our official entry into the FIFA classification.”
“Since last September, we have been searching for players through whom we can start the national team’s journey and compete in official and international competitions,” she said about the team’s recent training camp. “Through this camp, we seek to create the homogeneity we are looking for before playing the Seychelles and Maldives matches next month.”
“Organizing the first official Saudi league through the regional league and then the Saudi championship played a major role in the selection process, and helped us as a technical staff (to watch) the players playing competitive matches, facilitating our role during this camp, and we aspire to have the team fully prepared when participating its first official tournament.”
The training was also overseen by Alia Al-Rasheed, the Saudi national team supervisor, who expressed her satisfaction with the technical benefits of the camp and thanked the players for their efforts and discipline throughout the camp.
Lamia bin Bahian, board member and director of the Women’s Football Department at the Saudi Arabian Football Federation, said: “I would like to congratulate all the players who have been selected. And I would also like to thank their colleagues for the work they did during the camp, and (ask them) to continue working and try to get in the squad again. The team’s door is always open to all players, and we are working on evaluating the players continuously.”
The final list players included goalkeepers Lama Al-Anazi, Sarah Khaled and Mona Abdel Rahman; defenders Atheer Khaled, Bayan Sadaqah, Hessa Al-Saadallah, Lin Muhammad, Lana Abdelrazzaq, Ohoud Al-Amari, Tala Al-Ghamdi, Mashael Al-Harbi; midfielders Asrar Al-Shaibani, Dalia Abu Laban, Fahda Al-Saad, Juri Tariq, Layan Johari, Maryam Al-Tamimi, Farah Jafri, Noura Al-Ibrahim, Raghad Mukhaizin, Sarah Hamad and Saba Tawfiq; and forward Al-Bandari Mubarak, Al-Bandari Mohammed, Tahani Al-Zahrani.