Qatar women’s team goalkeeper supports country’s FIFA World Cup™ legacy programme
While football around the world has had to adapt during the global pandemic, inspiring female coach Shaima Abdullah has taken the opportunity to enhance her coaching skills. A goalkeeper with the Qatar women’s national team, Abdullah has taken on the challenge of becoming a coach in the Ability Friendly programme, which was founded by Generation Amazing and Qatar Foundation (QF) with the aim of supporting children and youth with special needs.
The Ability Friendly programme was launched in 2020 and gives children aged five and above the chance to play and learn new skills through football. Weekly sessions are held at Multaqa in Education City and are supervised by highly-trained coaches like Abdullah. The coaches have received special training in order to meet the needs of all participants. From this month, the programme will be offered in more locations, including Qatar Academy branches in Al Khor and Al Wakrah.
“It has been a great learning experience,” said Abdullah. “The workshops Generation Amazing provided for us as coaches changed my way of thinking tremendously. They allowed me to help make football accessible to people of different ages and needs.”
Through her work with Generation Amazing, Abdullah is one of many inspiring female coaches who have focused their work on building access to football and sport in their communities, while breaking stereotypes in the process.
The 29-year-old started her journey in sport from an early age and has continuously focused on improving her skills and raising awareness for the role of women in sport.
Abdullah explained that whatever challenges she faced, they did not cause her to stop on her journey: “I strongly stand against limiting football to men, and in general, women should not be restricted from following their football path. Generation Amazing gave me the opportunity to develop further and to expand my expertise in coaching.”
The Generation Amazing programme focuses on gender equality through youth advocates and other innovative programmes in Qatar and across the world. Abdullah was on hand recently, as Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy Ambassador Tim Cahill visited the Generation Amazing-QF Ability Friendly programme to inspire children to follow their dreams.
For the trailblazing Abdullah, she believes hosting the World Cup in Qatar and implementing activities such as the Ability Friendly programme are helping to increase the popularity of women’s football.
“I hope the upcoming World Cup in Qatar will help to place a focus on gender equality in sports, and help us to organise friendly matches to shed a light on women’s football, and I hope that I will be part of it,” the talented goalkeeper concluded.