NEWS
Kuwait - February 05, 2022 13:00Success against all odds in KuwaitFIFA.com reportCourtesy: FIFA.com

Friday, 4 February 2022

- The fourth women’s Futsal League in Kuwait concluded with a new champion
- For the first time, tickets were sold to spectators, and the games televised
- Developments in the country have been supported and funded by FIFA

Kuwait Women’s Futsal: A Success Story Against All Odds. This would be the title of a film if ever made, according to some of the women currently reflecting on the conclusion of the fourth annual women’s Futsal league in the country.

As recently as 15 years ago, opportunities for women in Kuwait to play football were slim. Women were portrayed as ‘too weak for sport’ and battled prejudice and social stigma to play. However, due to a group of determined young women who persevered where others would have folded, considerable progress has been made.

In May 2018, Fatema Hayat was nominated and elected as the first female Board Member of Kuwait FA. From that point onwards, tremendous strides have been made.

The KFA Women’s Football Committee met FIFA Development Manager Essam Al Suhaibani and Project Coordinator, Hasan Hassan and a business plan was created. Before long, the plan and financial support from the FIFA Forward programme had been approved. Out of a budget of USD $569,785, FIFA contributed USD $507,434.

The plan had four key components:

1 Create and organise the first official Futsal league for women in Kuwait, feeding talent to the national teams.

2 Establish a training centre for 11-a-side football for women’s youth national teams.

3 Host country-wide festivals to raise awareness of women’s Futsal and football, increasing participation opportunities.

4 Hold regular Futsal and football competitions throughout the year to ensure a full and active calendar.
The launch of the first-ever Women’s Futsal League created pathways for players as well as coaches and referees. FIFA shortly after launched its global Women’s Football Strategy, and Kuwait was selected as one of three pilot countries to create set a four-year strategy for developing women’s football.

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Creating a plan is often the easy part. Implementing it, a bigger challenge. In Kuwait, the groundwork laid has now seen the annual Women’s Futsal League go from strength to strength. Between October 2021 and the end of January 2022, a total of 36 games by six clubs featuring 102 players – 10 of them professional players from Ukraine, Brazil, Iran and Thailand – were held, with the league sponsored for the second successive year.

Kuwait Sport Club, Al Arabi Sport Club, Al Salmiya Sport Club, Al Fatat Club, Salwa Al Sabah Club, and Al Oyoun Club battled it out for the silverware and a first prize of USD $30,000, with the second and third placed teams also winning prize money.

Al Fatat Club beat Kuwait Sport Club 5-2 to win the title for the first time, with Al Arabi Club defeating Salwa Al Sabah for third place.

For the first time, for any women’s sporting event and any Futsal game in general, tickets were sold for spectators and the match was televised live. An amazing crowd of 1100 people attended the final match, showing just how far societal attitudes had changed in a decade and a half.

The crowd included prominent officials including Kuwait FA President Sheikh Ahmad Al Yousef, Mr Marzoug Ali Al Ghanim (Speaker of the Kuwait National Assembly), Dr Saqer Al Mulla (Deputy Director of the Public Authority of Sports) and Mr Ahmad Oqla (KFA Vice President), as well as Fatema Hayat, KFA’s Head of Women’s Football Committee and Board Member.

“We are very proud. The final game and ceremony showcased how far we have come in recent years. The huge crowd that attended proves that women’s football is here to stay” said Farah Boodai, Vice Chair of the Women’s Football Committee.

“We couldn’t have done this without the continuous support from FIFA’s Women’s Football and Member Associations Divisions. Under the leadership of Fatema Hayat we were able to break boundaries and show people that women can compete.”

The final words went to Kuwait’s national team coach, herself a trailblazer in women’s football, Shahrzad Muzafar. “From the development of Kuwaiti players to the recruitment of skilled professional players, I witnessed improvements in both the technical and tactical aspects of the league. The final match day was a glorious occasion with the presence fans who filled the hall. If we continue along this path, Kuwait will have one of the best women's leagues in Asia.”

A success story, now with the odds firmly stacked in the favour of the country’s women.

KUWAIT WOMEN'S FUTSAL SUPPORTED BY FIFA

Learn more about FIFA's programmes.

FIFA FORWARD
FIFA Forward is built to provide 360-degree, tailor-made support for football development in each of our member associations and the six confederations and is based on three principles.

FIFA WOMEN'S FOOTBALL STRATEGY
FIFA’s Women’s Football Strategy charts how FIFA will work with confederations and member associations, clubs and players, the media, fans and other stakeholders.



Impressive attendance for the Kuwaiti women's futsal final (Photo courtesy: FIFA/Kuwait FA/Kuwait Women Football Committee)



A scene from the Kuwaiti women's futsal final (Photo courtesy: FIFA/Kuwait FA/Kuwait Women Football Committee)




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