FIFA scored a first in the Iranian capital of Tehran in September, organising a unique beach soccer training course for women.

Hosted at the National Academy, built thanks to two Goal Projects* and given by FIFA instructor and United Arab Emirates team coach Marcelo Mendes, the course attracted 24 participants. Hailing from 15 regions across Iran, they included the coach and the fitness trainer with the national women’s team.

Laying the foundations
Following the opening session, which focused on the Laws of the Game and fundamental aspects of coaching, Mendes expressed his delight at the knowledge his students possessed: “I was pleasantly surprised to discover that they already knew the rules of the sport. That gave me the time to discuss tactics and technique in greater detail.”

The girls then put theory into practice in a friendly match at the end of the seminar, drawing praise from their Brazilian mentor, a vastly experienced beach soccer coach. “They’ve got tremendous potential,” commented a suitably impressed Mendes.

As a sign of the country’s willingness to promote women’s football and women’s beach soccer in particular, the Iranian Football Association (FFIRI) will shortly be organising the second national women’s tournament.

A total of 12 teams from eight cities will be taking part in the tournament, with the best players on show earning selection for Iran’s new women’s beach soccer team. Having already appointed a national coach, the FFIRI is hoping to organise a series of friendlies and introduce training for 6-12 year-olds in 2011.

*FIFA promotes the independence and professionalisation of its member associations through the construction of a “house of football”. The Goal Programme is an expression of solidarity that provides the associations with tailor-made projects, such as the construction of association headquarters, technical centres, natural and artificial turf pitches and football schools. Where possible, projects are carried out in collaboration with the confederations and government authorities.