UAE football athlete and coach Houriya Al Tahri is changing the narrative.
Over the weekend the FIFA Women’s World Cup kicked off in France and it is expected to attract 1 billion viewers. It might sound like a steep estimation considering the lack of coverage that women’s football has received previously, but the FIFA president Gianni Infantino is optimistic.
He has good reason to be as more and more of us our tuning into women’s sports, while major sporting brands like Nike are diversifying their collections and athletes like Houriya Al Tahri are breaking boundaries and banishing misconceptions.
Her story is the third and the final chapter of Nike’s current Dream Crazier campaign in the Middle East and her personal ambition is to become the the first Arab woman to own a football club.
Scouted at age 17, Houriya started her athletic journey as goalkeeper for the UAE National team in 2009, leading the national women’s team to victory in 2010 and 2011 at the Women’s West Asian Football Federation (WAFF) Championship. In addition to her impressive beginnings, Al Tahri was also the first FIFA Arab coach, who led the UAE National team to make history, defeating Iraq in 2017 and allowing them to secure the Gulf country’s first ever victory in a Women’s World Cup qualifier.
Her success had a significant impact on the next generation who now have 8 clubs in the first league in addition to Women’s under 14 and under 16 leagues to choose from.
“We are raising a generation of women who love football who are the champions of the UAE and who will one day, with a lot of hard work and dedication become champions of the world. The doors are open for anyone to chase this dream and we are entering it with vigor, we are here to stay”, she says.
Continuing to champion the message of diversity, our June cover star travelled recently to Paris to join other prominent names in the industry for the UNESCO’s #ChangeTheGame event to discuss the future of Women and Football.
The future looks bright.