Saudi Arabia's women footballers to play first international game on home soil

The team's matches away to Seychelles and Maldives resulted in two 2-0 victories

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Saudi Arabia's women's football team are scheduled to play their first game on home turf.

Known as the Green Falcons, the national team will compete in two fixtures against Bhutan on September 24 and 28.

These are the third and fourth games to be played by the team, which was formed in October.

Their opening matches, against Seychelles and Maldives, resulted in two 2-0 victories.

The first game on home soil will take place at the Prince Sultan Stadium in Abha, the capital of Asir Region.

“Win, lose or draw, these home matches are a historic moment in the transformative journey that women’s football is on in Saudi Arabia,” said Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF) President Yasser Al Misehal.

“As well as developing and improving on-pitch, the team’s impact is being felt by the number of women and girls throughout the country who are being inspired to play and follow football.”

Through the Kingdom's Vision 2030, the SAFF aims to encourage more participation in all levels of women's sport, where through investment, female involvement is up 150 per cent over the last four years.

According to the SAFF, 195,000 girls aged between the ages of 5 and 15 play sport on a weekly basis.

The federation said it has plans to increase interest and participation at all levels of the women’s game, with investments in areas such as grass roots, player development, coaching, facilities, competitions and governance.

Today, there are almost 450 registered female players, 49 qualified referees and more than 800 'D', 'C' and 'B' licensed coaches in the kingdom.

Last year, the country appointed its first women’s coach, Monika Staab, and, following the launch of the first regional women’s football league last year with 16 teams, an eight-team Premier League will be introduced next month.

The competition has been rebranded as the First Division Women’s League and will have 17 teams competing across three cities, taking the total number of clubs to 25 across the two divisions.

“As a team, we continue to improve while as a sport, we’re making huge progress at all levels and are proudly making history together,” Staab said.

“We look forward to these testing fixtures against Bhutan, and I am sure the whole squad will cherish this special moment forever.”

This summer, Saudi Arabia staged the West Asian Football Federation 3rd Women’s Futsal Championship in Jeddah, where the hosts finished with a silver medal.

Updated: September 25, 2022, 7:33 AM