When it comes to women’s football one of the prominent names that come to mind is of Maha Janoud’s. Her passion for the game inspires her to overcome obstacles and make a mark for herself in a sport believed to be dominantly played by men.
Janoud recalls that in the past being a part of football turned out to be very challenging in her country. The days were long and tough. The primary reason being, scarce resources and not enough facilities for females to polish their skills and up their game.
She continued, “The western part of Asia and several Arab countries need a complete and an integrated plan that can be implemented within the available resources. The scope is open and subject to rapid evolvement. All it needs is organization, guidance and sponsoring the rising talent.”
The young Syrian has a star-studded list of achievements and has represented the team on a national level for six years. Maha has been a mentor for multiple teams and holds several coaching badges. She is also an integral part of the AFC Women’s Football Committee and was recently appointed at the Oman Football Association as Head of Women’s Football.
She has immense experience in working with multicultural teams and closely deals with players from different backgrounds and ethnicities. In 2018, Janoud was tasked with the responsibility to coach the Al-Muhafaza, a men’s football club based in Damascus and also a part of the Syrian League 1 Division.
Maha shared, “I consider my experience with coaching the men’s team a great success. As for the society in general, they were very supportive. Of course, we have a few negative critics, but the majority were accepting in a very positive manner.”
She added, “I did not face any difficulties and challenges in training the men’s team. It provided great results and outcomes. The club was very supportive and has empowered their players, coaches and staff especially in football.”
Maha is adamant that a positive change is bound to incur which will not only encourage but also pave way for more women to participate. “There is a clear increase in coaches and referees and this shows the growth and change in the mentality of the society. I believe in a few years women’s football in West Asia will evolve even more.”
She believes, “Cultural attitudes to women’s football are shifting throughout West Asia. “The change is there and very noticeable. The number of female players and clubs is growing significantly.”