MALE: The Saudi women’s national football team has won its first ever international, overcoming the Seychelles 2-0 in a friendly match in the Maldives on Sunday night.
The match was always going to be a historic one for the Falcons whatever the result, but the team overseen by German coach Monika Staab ensured the occasion was marked in triumphant manner with a fine display at the Maldives National Stadium in Male.
Al-Bandari Mubarak gave the Saudis the lead on 14 minutes to become Saudi women football’s first-ever international goalscorer, and the lead was maintained until halftime.
The lead was doubled only four minutes after the break when Maryam Al-Tamimi converted from the penalty spot. There would be no more addition to the scoreline and Staab would have been delighted that her team kept a clean sheet to add to the two strikes.
Having completed an intensive training camp in the Kingdom, the squad landed in the Maldives on Thursday to continue the preparation ahead of their debut match against the Seychelles, before turning their attention to the match against hosts Maldives on Feb. 24.
Staab had stressed that the goal of the mini-tournament was to gain as much experience as possible.
“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.”
The Women’s Football Department — part of the Saudi Arabian Football Federation — will hope that these two fixtures are the start of a journey that will see the team eventually gain FIFA certification.
The rapid development of women’s football in the Kingdom was further aided by the establishment last November of the new Regional Football League, which involves 16 teams split across three regions: Central, Western and Eastern, with six teams based in the first two and four in the east.
Eight teams progressed to the National Football Championship, which was contested at the start of the year and won by Al-Mamlaka after they defeated Challenge 7-0 in the final.