By: Keerthi Mohan
Enthusiasm from Muslim women in the BAME communities of Birmingham to play football has led to the creation of a programme that will provide both training and coach-player mentoring.
Saltley Stallions launched the 12-week football initiative called the Saltley Women’s Football Club in May, during the holy month of Ramadan, and it will run until late August.
The football club was brought to fruition by Obayed Hussain, Imam and founder of the Saltley teams, and Yasmin Nessa, a student at the University of Birmingham.
Their aim was to create a space where participants could learn to confront preconceptions, stereotypes and negative ideologies, through their common love of football.
Hussain said: : “I am really proud to have helped make Saltley Women’s Football Club a reality. The young Muslim women of Birmingham have very few sporting outlets that are set up with them in mind and I hope that this pilot will provide a fun space where they can enjoy football but also develop as people.
“I believe strongly in the power that football holds in encouraging social cohesion and with my team at Saltley I have worked hard to make this programme the most enriching and helpful experience I can both on and off the field.”
In addition to providing women with a great sporting outlet, Nessa said the football club has also given them an opportunity to meet others from the community.
“I’ve grown up playing football on the street with my neighbours and I truly believe the spirit of football is unique in its capacity to bring people together and to create a lively and vibrant atmosphere amongst different groups of people,” said Nessa.
Shannie Jennings, coach at Saltley Women’s Football Club, said: “This is a really exciting time for women’s football and I’m excited to be working with Saltley WFC to help inspire a new generation of female Muslim footballers. It has been fantastic to see the great level of football talent among these young women and I look forward to helping them develop further in the coming weeks.”