The message of participation was heard loud and clear by women of all ages across the United Arab Emirates as the AFC’s It’s My Game initiative travelled to four cities to engage and enthuse them with the many opportunities available through sports.
Led by professional UAE national footballers and leading figures from various sports sectors, participants heard panel discussions and shared their inspiring stories in a fun, informal atmosphere that included games and football-related activities.
The final event panel in Sharjah was made up of Houriya Taheri, UAE national team coach, Amal Aal Rabeea, UAE women’s national team player, Latifa Al Suwaidi, Emirati hockey player and Marzena Justyna Kowalczuk, a mother, whose five daughters play football for the UAE at different levels.
Marzena, who led the discussion in Sharjah, said that sport has played such a huge role in the lives of her daughters, both socially and in terms of education: “My daughters prefer to be out playing sports instead of in front of computer games.
“Your health should always be number one and sport is very important to this. My daughters play football and many other sports and have made so many friends through this. I encourage parents to get their sons and daughters involved in sport at a young age and the AFC Asian Cup in January presents the perfect opportunity.”
During the series of events, one lucky session was joined by the UAE women’s national team who took to the field to join in a game with the attendees in Dubai, while participants in the Al Ain event enjoyed the prestigious surroundings of Hazza Bin Zayed stadium, one of the eight stadiums of the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019.
AFC General Secretary Dato’ Windsor John, added: “The AFC’s It’s My Game campaign has made a powerful impact in a number of countries across Asia. Through the events held in the UAE, the foundations have been laid to encourage further participation and we hope that Its My Game can help create a lasting legacy for female sport in the UAE.”
All four of the tailor-made events began with a panel discussion which proactively sought the thoughts and opinions of those in attendance, helping the expert panel directly address any fears or queries around getting involved with sport.
Although the events have finished, people can still join in the conversation online by using #ItsMyGame.