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Jordan women take to football pitch to end stereotypes

Amman, Thursday

Line’s dream is about to become a reality, the 14-year-old Jordanian girl will make history later this year when she takes part in her first ever football world cup. FIFA’s U-17 Women’s World Cup will kick off on September 30 in Jordan, the first time a Middle Eastern country hosts an international women’s football competition.

Line and 20 other girl footballers, including devout Muslims their heads covered by a scarf, have been practicing hard for the tournament with a British coach.

“Here in Jordan… it was frowned upon to see a girl play football. But now things have changed,” Line said. She still remembers how she defied social conventions in the conservative kingdom when at a younger age she decided to join the boys of her neighbourhood in a game of football.

Jordan—a key ally of the West—is a Muslim country with a Christian minority but both communities are weighed down by religious and social constraints like other nations in the Middle East.

For decades football was hands off for women but that changed in 2005 when the Jordanian federation—headed by Prince Ali, a half-brother of King Abdullah II—formed the first national female team.

Ali, an ex-vice president of FIFA who ran but failed to be elected president of football’s world governing body, is credited with having helped Jordan’s bid to host the under-17 girls’ tournament. -AFP

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