Houriya Taheri

Houriya Taheri – An Emirati leading a wave of change in UAE Women’s football. The 30-year-old former goalkeeper works at the Abu Dhabi Sports Council when not active in her role as an assistant coach with the national team.

1. The first time you kicked a ball?

When I was very young – six, to be exact, with my older brother

2. Difficulties playing the game while you were growing up?

No clubs focusing on women’s football in UAE and people not accepting girls playing the game

3. The good times?

When I was selected from my school team to play in the first women’s club in 2005

4. Any positive memories?

My family always supported me and attended my games

5. Most exciting time with the National team?

In 2010, we hosted the West Asian Football Federation Women’s Championship and finished first in the first official tournament beating Jordan

6. How many games have you played with the national team?

Eight games as Goalkeeper and eight as midfielder between 2009 and 2011

7. Any special call-outs?

Named as Best Goalkeeper (thrice)

8. How has the women’s game evolved in the UAE since you had begun playing?

Actually increased. There was one club in UAE between 2005 and 2012, but since then there have been eight

9. What sort of support does the women game in the UAE see?

Apart from FIFA’s ‘Live Your Goals’ program, our head of women’s football committee is a female, there are several women’s coaching courses, camps for young enthusiasts and league for U17, U15 and U13 where girls can become better players

10. Difficulties faced by women’s footballers?

Number of the clubs, some players don’t take pictures for media, lack of female coaches

11. Future/Goals of UAE women’s national team?

National team FIFA ranking along with being identified as the best league across Middle East and our U16 and U14 girls to try to make it to the bigger stage

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