Manama: The first Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) football tournament for women will be hosted by Saudi Arabia next month.
Organisers said that 16 teams from Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the UAE would take part in the tournament on March 1-6 at the Sports City in Khobar.
The unprecedented event will be under the patronage of Eastern Province Governor Prince Saud Bin Nayef, giving it an official stature.
“The opening of the tournament will feature a musical performance, “Here I Come” by 50 Saudi women,” Sana Al Ateeq, the general manager of one of the organising companies told Saudi daily Okaz.
The musicians, aged between 13 and 30, have been rehearsing five times a week to be fully ready for the special event, she added.
The tournament will have its own song, “Saudi Girls Like You” that also features a video clip.
“Two matches will be played on the first day while four games will be held on the ensuing days.”
Ten Saudi teams will take part in the tournament, including United Eagles, Jeddah Eagles, Al Yamama and the Eastern Flame.
“The teams have been practicing four days a week, with every session lasting around three hours. Some of the team played friendly games in Riyadh and the Eastern Province to be in good shape,” Sana said.
“We are looking forward to a special family day because the tournament is for the families and not just for the players.”
Al Yamama player Luma Al Enezi said that her team was ready to play and to compete for the cup.
“We are keen on representing the kingdom in the best possible way, especially that the officials have provided all factors to ensure the success of the tournament,” she said.
“We have been practicing very hard to be able to play our best games and win.”
Under an ambitious drive to empower women, Saudi women have been encouraged to play an active role in sports, to form teams and take part in local and international competitions.