x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Women's game on rise

The Australian coach Connie Selby has predicted a bright future for UAE women's football after her side won the West Asia tournament on debut.

ABU DHABI // Connie Selby predicted a bright future for women's football in the Emirates after her UAE side were crowned West Asia Champions in the first 11-a-side tournament they entered. Fatima al Maleh's 70th-minute strike was enough to secure them a 1-0 victory over Jordan, the winners of the last two competitions, at Abu Dhabi's Military Stadium on Sunday. Selby, a former captain of the Australia side who has spent the past two years creating the team from scratch, said the development of young players would help emulate this success. "You can't expect a better start to the women's game than winning the regional championship in the first attempt," she said.

"We were completely a new unit in comparison to some of the other teams, yet they played with a lot of heart. Now the women's game can really take off. There is a plan to start age group competition from under 14 level. There are not many players at the moment but we hope to draw them by starting regular competitions and eventually have a proper women's league." The Football Association plan to start a national league for women in 2012. Mohammed Khalfan al Rumaithi, the FA president, said: "The women's team has just made their case stronger by this sterling performance. "We already have made plans for them to start from grassroots and obviously build on this success and new found fame." @Email:apassela@thenational.ae