Saudi Arabia‘s women’s national football team has done the Kingdom proud by winning its first international match, defeating Seychelles 2-0 in a match in the Maldives on Sunday. Al-Bandari Mubarak took the lead on 14 minutes and became Saudi Arabia’s first woman to become an international goalscorer. She maintained the lead until halftime. The score was doubled when Maryam Al-Tamimi scored a penalty.
On the historic win, coach Monika Staab said, “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 team is set to play against the Maldives on February 24. The women’s football department hopes that these two fixtures will kickstart a journey that will eventually lead to the team garnering an official FIFA certification.
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Saudi has been expanding its repertoire to new levels recently, and the development of women’s football in the Kingdom is aided by the RFL establishment since last November. The Regional Football League has included 16 teams split across three regions: Central, Western and Eastern, with six teams based in Central and Western, and four in the Eastern.
The team’s win also caught the attention of legendary Brazilian footballer Pelé, who took to Instagram to congratulate the players. “I want to congratulate the [Saudi Arabia Football Federation] and their Women’s National Football Team for their first-ever official FIFA match,” he wrote. “I will always be rooting for you from Brazil. Today is a historic day not only for you, but for everyone who loves football.”