The development of women’s football involves more than just players and clubs. Women’s football coaches have an equally important role to play in the process, and in recognition of that, FIFA organised a regional workshop for them in the Jordanian capital, Amman, coinciding with the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Jordan 2016.

Attended by 16 women’s football coaches from the United Arab Emirates, Palestine, Syria, Bahrain, Oman, Iran and Jordan, the ten-day workshop came to an end on 9 October 2016 and included talks and practical sessions presented by FIFA specialists Anna Signeul (Sweden) and Anya Balosevic (Germany).

Among the attendees was Nour Al Mazroui, captain of the UAE’s national women’s team and holder of an Asian 'A' coaching badge. “The workshop was very useful,” she told FIFA.com. “I took part in the very first session, which FIFA organised in New Zealand in 2008. This is the fifth time it has been held. Many things have changed in the world of coaching since then. We always receive very useful information at the conferences and we get important insights into the everyday work of a coach in taking sessions and adapting them to the age of the players they’re working with.”

A football fan since childhood, Nour overcame a number of obstacles on the way to joining Abu Dhabi’s first women’s team, which was founded in 2004. “Women’s football has spread to all four corners of the globe and we want to be part of that in the Arab world.” She said. “In the Emirates we have a plan in place for the coming years. The national FA and the Women’s Football Committee are determined to make us competitive. There’s a long way to go but we are intent on making it happen. We’re going to pass on our experience to our colleagues and make the most of all this information.”

A change for the better
“The fact that we’re organising a workshop with a large majority of female coaches shows that times are changing,” said Mayi Cruz Blanco, FIFA’s Head of Women’s Football Development. "We’re going to do all we can to support these women, and we hope they’ll be role models in their countries."

“The importance of Jordan 2016 goes way beyond football. It’s proof of the progress women are making in sport and society. FIFA is proud of this event and hopes it will have an impact on the life of girls and women in the years to come."

“The information we’ve received here has been so useful because we’re the ones who come face to face with reality on the ground," Maha Janoud, a former player in Syria. “We’ve analysed the performances of the teams taking part in the competition, and we’ve then talked about them with FIFA’s speakers and our colleagues. We also spent time at the training complex to put some things into practice with Jordan’s U-19 team."

"I’ve been surprised by Japan," she added, "who I think are one of the best teams in the world thanks to their exceptional tactical organisation. In the course of our conversations, I’ve picked up useful technical information that I could never have come across on my own. It’s a unique and rewarding experience.” The coach of newly crowned Syrian women’s league champions Al Muhafaza, Janoud will pass on her experience to young players when she returns to Damascus.

Maha Al Nasser of Jordan, who currently holds her Asian 'C' coaching badge, has a very clear career objective in mind: “I want to work with Jordan’s women’s teams and contribute to the development of the sport here. It’s essential to work with young girls so that they can progress. There’s a bright future out there and we all want to make it happen.”

In imparting their newly acquired footballing knowledge to their colleagues back home, the workshop’s participants will play their part in helping women’s football to move forward in the Middle East, which has entered an exciting new era with the staging of this, the first major international women’s competition in the region.