Khabar Khair (Only Good News) – Dr. Noha Nasser
Yemeni women did not stand on the threshold of encouraging football, and their knowledge about football did not exceed names that they memorized from being repeatedly mentioned in their homes, where one or all of her children enjoyed football and followed the World Championships, the European, Spanish and English League.
In the recent years, the encouraging Yemeni woman’s voice has become present on social media, in homes, universities and schools, between fans of the player or a good follower of football and all the news related to it.
Samar Mahfouz (a university student) says, “Khaleeji 20 was the first channel interested in football and encouraged it, as my father used to accompany me to the May 22 Stadium in Aden to watch matches, and this is what prompted me to be attached to this sport”.
Samar adds, “Going to watch football created in me an interest and love to follow the European League, English and others, and I became a fan of Real Madrid”.
She said, “I am not the only one who is interested in sports and loves cheering. There are female classmates from school and others in college who showed interest in football and followed the league, and each girl has her favorite team”.
The Beginnings of Cheering
Through a poll for the “Khabar Khair” (Only Good News) website about the actual beginnings of Yemeni women in promoting local and international football, we found a discrepancy in the beginnings since the starting of the millennium to 2010 AD, which is the actual start of the Yemeni women to cheerleading football, which coincided with the twenty-first Gulf that was held in Aden.
Yemeni female fans are no different from male in owning souvenirs such as T-shirts bearing the name of the team they support, bracelets, scarves or pictures of the players.
Wassila Abdullah (a doctor) asserts, “Social media plays a major role in shedding light on the ball, and fascinates female fans to be part of the football world, which is known to be a masculine environment in its entirety and with the social media, enthusiasm and competition increase”.
Wassila told “Khabar Khair” (Only Good News) website, “I started watching football in the 2006 World Cup in Germany, and today encouraging football is no longer the preserve of males in our home. My sister and I have become prominent fans in our family”.
And she adds, “Every girl has a favorite team and a club, and my favorites are Argentina and FC Barcelona”.
Wassila pointed out that there is a large segment of women fans and followers of football in Yemen, highlighted by social media, especially Facebook.
On her part, Mona (a teacher from Aden), said, “I find that football is important to us, as it brings us together with all spectra of the world. And in order to follow the league, we have to provide a special device for transmitting the World Cup or the European League matches and others, no matter what the cost, and we may have to meet at the house of a friend who owns a device that enables us to follow encrypted channels, and sometimes we follow the matches online”.
Regarding the opinion of Yemeni youth on women’s criticism and arbitration of the conduct of matches in general, Rania Ali stressed that young people in Yemen do not detract from the critical opinions of girls about the conduct of the match or arbitration, but on the contrary, we find them sometimes astonished by the amount of information possessed by girls interested in football and sports in general.
Rania says, “Social media has a role in spreading the culture of football among girls in Yemen, in addition to parents who believe that a girl’s follow-up and interest in football is better than watching soap operas and dramas”.
Football, New Events, No Burnt Drama
Hana Saleh (a student at the University of Aden) believes that watching and encouraging football matches is fun and creates an atmosphere of enthusiasm. Everything is new in sports, including events and developments, and facing the game unlike stories, series or films that anyone can anticipate its events and then its end becomes obvious early”.
Hana adds, “Football events bring people together with different orientations, and with encouragement and through football, peace prevails among people in society. And after the game is finished, parentheses are opened for discussion about its course within the family members, and on the social media”.
Yemeni Women Football Team
Yemeni female fans demanded the necessity of establishing a football team for Yemeni women, as sport is a right for Yemeni women and they must obtain it.
Rania called for the establishment of women’s football teams in the main cities, and said, “Sports is an important thing in our lives, and it reflects a positive aspect and has great health and psychological returns when it turns into behavior, and may be a source of income for many families”.
Wassila (a sports fan) is also calling for a football team that brings together female players from various Yemeni governorates, and confirmed that she will join the women’s team that represents Yemen in football, and will inform all her female colleagues about this experience.
On the importance of football and its preference over other sports, she said, “Football is charming and fun and brings people together in general, and is one of the best and most widespread sports. It is a game that highlighted talents immortalized throughout history, such as Maradona, Pele, Roberto Carlos, Ronaldinho and others.
Amani Al-Khatib (a teacher from Aden) says, “In our time, those who have been able to achieve various achievements in many ancient clubs, are the ones who made football a part of our lives and wanted us to follow up on all the latest news about this sport that has entered all Yemeni homes”.
Amani adds, “For me, I started cheering in 2002 AD, coinciding with the World Cup in South Korea and Japan. Unfortunately, in my community, there are few women interested in football in Yemen”.
Amani asserts that the most beautiful period of football for her as a fan was between 2002 and 2010 AD, which is considered, from her point of view, the golden age for football players, after which the big names in this football retired and their enthusiasm began to wane when following this sport.
Amani accused the youth of not only making fun of female supporters, but also undermining their ability to express critical opinions about the refereeing or the conduct of the match in general.
Women in Yemen continue to encourage football matches, especially the English, Spanish and Italian leagues, and they have been able to establish groups through social media to share opinions, discussions and comment on the course of the matches.
They also publish sports news on social media, with remarkable interest, open topics for discussion after each match, exchange opinions as an activity that may one day develop into Yemeni media outlets concerned with sports, and establish sports clubs for Yemeni women