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UAE 2019 celebrates women’s football with action packed fan zone

Friday, January 11, 2019
It's My Game - AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 - 1

Abu Dhabi: Young females across the United Arab Emirates have enjoyed an evening of entertainment both on-and-off the pitch, with AFC’s ‘It’s My Game’ initiative rewarding hundreds of school girls who excelled throughout the tournament’s community programmes.

More than 60 girls aged between 11-18 years old, were special guests of ‘It’s My Game’ in the tournament’s official Fan Zone, Al Bahar Corniche, before witnessing the UAE’s clash with India at the Zayed Sports City Stadium in Abu Dhabi, giving many youngsters the opportunity of a lifetime to attend a live international football match.

Creating a fitting cultural feel to the popular Fan Zone, the group enjoyed special Bollywood performances from Indian dance acts and traditional Emirati Al Ayala dance, along with a meet and greet with female sports stars who continued to inspire the group to continue their sporting journeys.

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AFC 'It's My Game' - AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 Fan Zone in Abu Dhabi

The group were invited to the fan zone and the match, having impressed organisers at previous events in recent months, which had seen over 70,000 youngsters take part in educational and sporting activities throughout the United Arab Emirates.

Speaking at the event, UAE ice hockey star Fatima Alali (pictured below), commented: “Sport has always been a huge part of my life and has made me the person I am today. Most of my friends are people that I have met through sport, so it is important for girls to get involved through school or clubs and start doing something that makes them happy and proud to achieve new things.”

At the conclusion of the festivities, the girls travelled to Zayed Sports City Stadium, where they cheered on the Emirati and Indian sides together and experienced the beautiful game's ability to connect cultures through a shared passion.

Maria, 16, originally from India but now residing in the UAE, was one of the school girls invited to attend the match, supporting India, said: “When I told my family I was coming to cheer on India, they were so excited for me. I hadn’t been to a football match before, but I have started playing football at school, so I knew I was going to love it. I hope I can start going to more matches with my friends because we all had a great time.”

The AFC's ‘It's My Game’ campaign celebrates the contribution of women in Asian football and emphasises their varied roles within it, illustrating football as a career option for women and girls. It is a longstanding AFC initiative which delivers coaching sessions across Asia to develop women’s football and has resulted in sharp growth in countries such as China, India and now the UAE.

Throughout the four-week tournament, fans of all communities can enjoy a wide range of entertainment from different cultures, as well as participate in a number of challenges and competitions, making it the perfect place for fans to visit before heading to the matches.

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