GAME CHANGER: Sudanese Woman Defies Cultural Stereotypes To Become Coach Of Menโ€™s Football Team

Salma El Majidi-GAME CHANGER: Sudanese Woman Defies Cultural Stereotypes To Become Coach Of Men's Football Team
GAME CHANGER: Sudanese Woman Defies Cultural Stereotypes To Become Coach Of Men's Football Team- Salma El Majidi
Salma El Majidi is the first Arab and Sudanese woman to coach a menโ€™s football team in the Arab world Photo Credit: Ashraf Shazli/AFP

Salma El Majidi is the first Arab and Sudanese woman to coach a menโ€™s football team in the Arab world.

Named in the BBCโ€™s 2015 list of โ€œ100 inspirational womenโ€, Majidi has coached the Sudanese second league menโ€™s clubs of Al-Nasr, Al-Nahda, Nile Halfa and Al-Mourada.ย  Nile Halfa and Al-Nahda even topped local leagues under her coaching. She currently holds the African โ€œBโ€ badge in coaching. It means she can coach any first league team across the continent.

โ€œI became a coach because there is still no scope for womenโ€™s football in Sudan.โ€ El Majidi told an AFP reporter in eastern Sudanโ€™s El Gedaref where she trains players of the El Ahly El Gedaref club.

Womenโ€™s football has faced an uphill task since the country adopted Islamic sharia law in 1983. There is no legal ban on womenโ€™s football in Sudan. But a conservative society coupled with the Islamist leanings of the government has left it in the shadows. Women do play football. But there are no competitions or womenโ€™s clubs. And they do not play much in public.

โ€œThere are restrictions on womenโ€™s football, but Iโ€™m determined to succeed,โ€ Majidi, whose dream is to coach an international team, said, as her players kicked up clouds of dust practicing free kicks.

Salma El Majidiย  โ€“ Culture Shock

โ€œThere was this one boy who refused to listen. He told me he belongs to a tribe that believed men should never take orders from women,โ€ she said.

It took months before he finally accepted her as a coach. โ€œToday, he is a fine player,โ€ said Salma El Majidi, who works full-time and receives a salary that is equivalent to that of a male coach.ย 

GAME CHANGER: Sudanese Woman Defies Cultural Stereotypes To Become Coach Of Men's Football Team-Salma El Majidi
Salma El Majidiย  on the right โ€“ Photo by AhmedAnwar2020 from Wikimedia Commons

Salma El Majidi said her entrance to what was a male preserve is just a start.

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