FIFA’s support underpins Kyrgyz Republic’s ambitions

  • Kyrgyz Republic put in place strong plans to grow women’s football

  • Central Asian nation participate in the FIFA Women’s Development Programme

  • Football helping to “overcome cultural and social barriers”

After achieving long-awaited international recognition with their maiden participation in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup, Kyrgyz Republic are now intent on building women’s football in the Central Asian nation. In fact, the Kyrgyz Football Union (KFU) recently became the first national association to implement a grassroots project using funds and resources supplied via FIFA's Women’s Development Programme.

In line with FIFA’s Women’s Football Strategy, the campaign aims to provide every member associations across the globe with the opportunity to apply for and access additional resources and specialist expertise to develop women’s football at a national level. The programme offers tailor-made solutions suitable for the particular local environment.

Kyrgyz Republic is set to participate in FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023™ qualifiers later this year. But a more prominent focus for the nation is building strong women’s football foundations and the stars of tomorrow.

With that latter objective in mind, football festivals for girls kicked-off earlier this month in Osh and, having visited several other locations during April, will hit the the capital city, Bishkek, later this week. The overarching aim is an introductory and fun focus on the game, with football played in various formats.

Building a solid platform

Kyrgyz Republic currently has 39 women’s teams including at national league level, but optimism is high about significantly increasing that number in the foreseeable future.

“Women's football in the Kyrgyz Republic is gaining momentum and becoming more popular day by day,” Begimai Omuralijeva, executive director of the Women’s Football Association of the Kyrgyz Union, told “There are another 14 grassroots football coaches who are in charge of increasing the number of girls involved in football.

“The Kyrgyz Football Union, together with the Women's Football Association of the Kyrgyz Republic, is working hard to maximise the potential of women's football in the country. Moreover, we are striving to increase participation and engagement at all levels.”

Breaking down barriers

“The number of girls playing football in the country is growing,” says Omuralijeva. “There are more and more girls who want to play football, and parents who are showing interest and bringing their children to training sessions themselves.

“The Kyrgyz Football Union and the Women’s Football Association of the Kyrgyz Republic are working to strengthen the brand of women's football through partnerships with the country's top media platforms and media outlets. Our team do amazing work to spread the right message to our society and increase awareness through different social media platforms and media campaigns.”

The KFU is also focussed on increasing participation, coach education and “inspiring girls and spreading the right message on women's football around the country”.

Omuralijeva adds that football has proven to be a priceless tool in overcoming cultural barriers. “Our country is no exception in terms of cultural issues and stereotypes, but it is worth mentioning that football, more than anything else, helps to overcome the cultural and social barriers that women and girls face.”

FIFA launched the Women’s Development Programme for member associations last September in order to further develop women’s football and provide associations with the opportunity to apply for and access additional resources and specialist expertise to develop women’s football at a national level.

Member associations can choose from eight individual programmes provided that they meet the requirements and fit in with their national women’s football development strategy.