“We have to wait. I am afraid of their reaction, if we push too hard,” said Rawh Abdullah, a captain of a female soccer team in the Saudi capital, Riyadh. “We risk being shut down completely, and I do not want to reach a dead end because of impatience.”
Also, she added, she and her teammates simply “are not ready to compete on such level” because they cannot train properly.
Abdullah has given up her career as a teacher to run the all-women soccer club Al Tahaddi, Arabic for challenge. Since 2006, when the club was established, 25 team members meet four times a week to play after turning one of the players’ gardens into a field.
The 28-year-old Abdullah, who serves as a coach and the captain on the team, charges each member $350 annual fee to play. The money she gets covers players outfits, balls, makeshift goals, fitness equipment and partly also trips to the port city of Jeddah to play exhibition games or matches in the clandestine women’s league.