Staab appointed director of football; Lappi-Seppala takes over as coach of Saudi women’s team

Staab appointed director of football; Lappi-Seppala takes over as coach of Saudi women’s team
Rosa Lappi-Seppala and Monika Staab. (Supplied)
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Updated 13 February 2023

Staab appointed director of football; Lappi-Seppala takes over as coach of Saudi women’s team

Staab appointed director of football; Lappi-Seppala takes over as coach of Saudi women’s team
  • Monika Staab’s new role to include overseeing the full ecosystem of women’s football
  • First training camp and match under new coach Rosa Lappi-Seppala held this week

RIYADH: The Saudi Arabian Football Federation’s Women’s Football Department has announced the promotion of the country’s first-ever head coach Monika Staab to the newly created position of Women’s Football Technical Director.

In her new role, Staab will oversee the 360 degrees transformative development of the women’s game in Saudi Arabia and establish new structures that fulfill the sport’s potential from coaching to grassroots development to domestic competitions.

Meanwhile, former Finland women’s national team assistant manager and player Rosa Lappi-Seppala will take over the position as the new Saudi Arabian women’s national team head coach. She becomes just the second to hold the position since its establishment in September 2021.

Rosa already has experience with the ‘Green Falcons’ after playing an integral part of the of the coaching staff that led the squad to its first ever championship last month. She takes up her new role following an illustrious international playing and coaching career.

During her 1.5-year historic tenure leading the national team, Staab oversaw the first try-outs which welcomed over 700 players across three cities. Following the squad selection, she guided the team to seven international matches, recording four wins, two draws and just one defeat against Seychelles, Maldives, Bhutan, Pakistan, Comoros Islands and Mauritius. Her biggest accomplishment came last month when they were crowned champions of the four-team International Friendly Tournament held in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province. The team is now on-route to be inducted into the FIFA Official Rankings List next month.

Lamia Bahaian, Supervisor of the Women’s Football Department and board member at the Saudi Arabian Football Federation said: “We are immensely proud and thankful of everything Monika achieved with our national team. Ever since arriving to the Kingdom, she has been a great ambassador for the women’s game and has brought with her a unique and contagious energy that helped drive our game forward.

“We’ve already made history together but look forward to achieving even greater success as Monika expands her role to help us on our incredibly exciting trajectory of growth and realizing the women’s game full potential in Saudi Arabia. We were very selective with the appointment of a new head coach, and we could not be happier with our decision to appoint Rosa. She arrives with a wealth of experience and has already integrated perfectly with the players. We wish her all the very best of success.”

Aalia Al-Rasheed, Head of the Women’s Football Department said: “Our women’s national team captured headlines since its first match last year, and is playing an immense role in promoting the women’s game to new audiences and contributing to a positive shift in society. We welcome Rosa to her new home and are confident that with her global experience and deep understanding of what we hope to achieve, she will help drive the team forward as we look to enter the official FIFA Rankings List very soon.

“We already have massive ambitions for the year ahead and are excited about ramping up our investment in all areas of the women’s game, especially with the new guidance of Monika Staab in her new role as Technical Director.”

Commenting on her new role as Women’s Football Technical Director, Monika Staab said: “I am a strong believer that women’s football in Saudi Arabia is one of the most exciting stories in world football and I am extremely pleased to continue my journey in this great country as Technical Director of the Women’s Football Department. The past 18 months have been nothing short of incredible and historic. Everyday I am overwhelmed by the ambitious vision for women’s football and what everyone here wants to achieve.

“I’ve been privileged to work as part of an exceptionally driven team. We offered new opportunities across different age groups and made a name for ourselves on the global stage. We have so much to achieve, and I look forward to contributing to the game in new ways.”

Expressing her delight to be joining Saudi’s football journey, new women’s national team head coach Rosa Lappi-Seppala said: “I am incredibly excited for this new chapter in my career. During my experience with the team during the friendly championship in Dammam, I witnessed the massive passion and potential the girls have for the game.

“I am truly inspired by the huge opportunity here and everything that has been achieved in just a short period of time. I want to sincerely thank the team at the Women’s Football Department for this opportunity and I can’t wait to get started and playing my part in this exciting journey.”

The national team will undergo its first training camp this week under the guidance of Rosa Lappi-Seppala in Dammam, before facing off against Indonesia in a friendly match.

Fans can get involved and follow the progress across the women’s game via the official Women’s Football Department Twitter account @SAFF_WFD