“There was a group of young women who were talented football players and showed good sportsmanship, so we formed a team,” says coach Emad al-Ashi.
Some two dozen female athletes joined the team, which practices at the YMCA in Gaza City.
“Other countries have football leagues for girls.”
While the players receive support from their coach and families, there aren’t many female football players in Gaza. This prevents them from regularly playing other teams.
“We only played one match in Gaza and it was good. We won,” team member Rita Abu Rahma told The Electronic Intifada.
Israel’s blockade on Gaza makes travel very difficult.
Aya Bseiso, another player, says the team would like to compete abroad, even if it’s just to pitches a short distance from the boundary.
“We may be too ambitious,” Bseiso says. “We don’t even need to go abroad, but at least let us compete in the occupied West Bank or in Egypt.”
Last year, Israel denied the Gaza-based Khadamat Rafah football club permission to travel to the occupied West Bank for a Palestine Cup match.
The FIFA-recognized competition was set to determine which team would represent Palestine in the Asian Champions League.
Video by Ruwaida Amer and Sanad Ltefa.