x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Al Omaira takes game forward for Emirati women footballers

A seven-a-side tournament to begin in capital next month with six out of eight teams confirming entry on first first day of registration.

ABU DHABI // A new indoor seven-a-side football competition for women is set to kick off in the capital.

Organisers are registering teams and individual players for the tournament at the Armed Forces Officers Club, which will run from October 4 to December 6.

"The response has been pretty good, with six teams already confirmed in the first day of registration," said Mariam Al Omaira, the head of the organising committee for Irada, a company she founded to promote women's sports and fitness.

The league will hold another registration on September 27, with a aim of having eight teams.

"In my opinion there are about 50 to 80 players around the leagues that are organised around the country, so eight teams makes a lot of sense," Al Omaira said.

"Obviously the idea is to develop this league, and make it better and stronger every passing year. We want to encourage more participation, and the best way to go about it is by holding more competitions."

Al Omaira, who said she was seeing more interest spreading among high school girls, played an active role in organising the Abu Dhabi Football League (ADFL) for men and women at a purpose built inflatable indoor structure at the Dome at Rawdhat in April.

The 25-year-old former Zayed University student has been involved in the sport since she was seven. She started a campus team and then formed Team Abu Dhabi, an all-Emirati side that won the ADFL women's title.

"Football is a big part of who I am, I watch it, I play it, I breathe it and I definitely try to get as many girls interested as possible," Al Omaira said.

"I was with the ADFL to get them started but I have my own ideas to take this game forward, and I won't be able to do it independently if I am on that committee.

"I want to be more involved and do more for the women's game. For that reason I established my own company.

"Obviously I am very excited of this new venture, and I am pretty confident this league will grow."

The teams that have already confirmed are Team Abu Dhabi, Team Dubai, the Tigers from Dubai and three other teams which have still to decide what name they will be playing under. "The three teams that are yet to be named will play under the sponsor's banner once they get the confirmations," Al Omaira said.

"There are also players who have registered with us and are available to play for any team."

For more information contact mariam.omaira@gmail.com

apassela@thenational.ae