;

Morocco's Benzina Makes History With Hijab at Women's World Cup

  • Publish date: Sunday، 30 July 2023
Morocco's Benzina Makes History With Hijab at Women's World Cup

Nouhaila Benzina became the first player in a Women's World Cup game to wear a hijab, when she sported the Muslim headscarf in Morocco's match against South Korea on Sunday.

A FIFA ban on playing in religious head coverings in its sanctioned games for “health and safety reasons” was overturned in 2014 after advocacy from activists, athletes and government and soccer officials.

In Adelaide, against South Korea, the 25-year-old defender Benzina, who plays club football in Morocco, took the pitch in an effort to make history.

“I have no doubt that more and more women and Muslim girls will look at Benzina and just really be inspired – not just the players, but I think decision-makers, coaches, other sports as well,” said Assmaah Helal, a co-founder of the Muslim Women in Sports Network.

Benzina plays professional club football for the Association's Sports of Forces Armed Royal, Morocco's top women's league's eight-time defending champion.

She did not play in Morocco’s opening 6-0 loss to Germany in Melbourne, and had to wait six days to finally get her start in the Group H game in Adelaide.

“We are honored to be the first Arab country to take part in the Women’s World Cup,” Morocco captain Ghizlane Chebbak told reporters before tournament, “and we feel that we have to shoulder a big responsibility to give a good image, to show the achievements the Moroccan team has made.”