By Arab News
By Lama Alhamawi
The Saudi Arabian Football Federation on Thursday announced that it will establish its first official women’s football league as part of wide-ranging strategic plan for the sport, titled “Our Tactics for Tomorrow.”
SAFF President Yasser bin Hassan Al-Misehal said: “We have many ambitious goals in the upcoming years to promote women’s soccer through the launch of the first edition of the league for teams, whose players will form the first women’s national team.”
He added: “The first version of the official women’s league will be launched in the coming months and we aim to reach 1,000 players in the coming years.”
SAFF’s new league competition will be a separate entity to the Women’s Football League established by Saudi’s Sports For All Federation last November, and will involve full-sized 11-a-side matches.
Among the major points discussed by the SAFF in the new plans are the establishment of the first women’s national team, accessibility through technology, and opening training centers in multiple cities to support girls and boys of varying ages.
Al-Misehal began the announcement by reflecting on some of the federation’s past achievements, including the Kingdom’s FIFA World Cup appearances, rise in the FIFA rankings and the national team’s three AFC Asian Cup wins.
The federation president also discussed the mission to increase participation in the new Saudi women’s national team until 2025.
In the past two years, the SAFF has set up a Women’s Football Department, German coach Monica Staab was appointed as manager of the women’s national team and participation in the Sixth Gulf Women’s Tournament was confirmed.
Future strategic developments for the women’s national team will include the establishment of multiple training programs for various age groups and levels, as well as the addition of 1,000 regional players, from which the best will be selected to represent the Kingdom under Staab’s supervision.
“Programs will be developed to facilitate the practice of women’s football according to their levels, and dedicated tracks will be developed and designed for training purposes,” Al-Misehal said.
Providing access to football facilities and programs for various age groups across the Kingdom will be a priority under the new initiatives.
“We will support children to play the game and try to discover talents from an early age,” Al-Mishal said. “Today, we launched a program to support the age groups, and this program will contribute to stimulating and developing the players for all clubs. It includes all ages, not only primary, but also intermediate from 13-15.”
By the year 2025, the SAFF aims to organize more than 50 competitions for different age groups, involving 4,000 players.
“More than 13 regional offices of the federation will be structured and organized with the additional goal of increasing the number of regional training centers to 25,” Al-Misehal said.
Meanwhile, the federation’s digital transformation strategy will be implemented through the use of the MYSAFF platform, making digital applications and resources accessible to all players and potential applicants.
The application will allow players across the Kingdom to shoot a one-minute video showcasing their skills and submit it to the federation electronically, without the need for travel.