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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - JEDDAH: A relieved Jeddah Eagles team claimed victory in the Jeddah Women’s Football League with a final-match victory over arch-rivals Miraas.
The Eagles were one-point leaders on the league table going into the last match of the season on Friday and needed a win to ensure triumph in the league.
Coach Bireen Sadagah, 31, said she is overwhelmed with her team’s victory. “I still can’t believe we actually won the league,” she told Arab News.
Jeddah Eagles claimed the title from rivals White Lion, Jeddah Wave, Miraas, Storm and Kings United in a two-month competition which began on Oct. 4.
“It’s such a beautiful thing to win it after such a long journey, especially since we started from scratch,” Sadagah said.
“The girls feel very proud of themselves because they have accomplished something all the other teams in Jeddah were aiming for.
“Jeddah Eagles made history by winning the league and I’m sure that all the girls in my team will support their nephews, cousins, nieces, friends and others to be better. By 2030, you’re going to find a very good generation of athletes in the Kingdom,” the coach added.
Eagles midfielder Farah Jefry, 16, said: “It was incredible. Everyone was fighting for the cup and we were up by only one point before the final match, so we had to win in order to win the cup. I’m really thankful for my team for working so hard this season.”
The young footballer said she is thankful for Saudi Vision 2030 and the role being offered to women to make sports history. Under social reforms led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, women are beginning to enter many different fields, including sports.
“There has been a huge difference if you compare us now from five years ago. Women have a lot more opportunities,” Jefry said.
“The Jeddah Women’s League is an example and also the first national team. Women’s football is gaining popularity in the Kingdom,” she said.
“There are so many people asking how they can join our team, and so many teams are being established these days. Two years ago, there were about five teams and now there are around 10.”
Eighteen-year-old midfielder Layan Jouhari praised the team’s efforts.
“The past few months have been intense with training four times a week, and a lot of planning and commitment,” she said. “We had to go through tough losses and amazing victories, so to finally win the cup in the end, it’s indescribable,” she said.
Jouhari said she is happy with the support Saudi Vision 2030 has given to women in sports.
“I’m grateful that Saudi Arabia is taking all these steps to develop and change, and shed light on areas where women haven’t had a chance to shine before. It’s rewarding to be appreciated by the Kingdom, especially in the field of sports. We are getting a lot of support,” she said.
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