By Al Anood Al Wahaibi –
It all began with Oryx, a girls football team in Muscat, founded in 2018 that was created after the passion, commitment and determination of a 19 years old girl, Malak al Zadjali.
“I started playing when I was 7 years old, I grew up with my male cousins and so they had a huge impact on the start of my football journey”, Malak says. I lived in Thailand with my family for almost five years, playing football during my stay there”.
The challenge and journey started after coming back to Oman in 2017 when she did not know how to pursue her hobby of playing football like how she used to abroad.
With the help of her sister, Mazoon al Zadjali, a youth advocate and a motivational speaker, the journey started. First, by creating a page on a social media platform, Instagram. Then coming up with a name for the team, and she picked the name “Oryx”, the name was a reflection to females. A Google form was created for girls to sign up, where almost 180 girls signed up to join the team.
Malak faced several challenges, yet the biggest was to conivnce these girls to be committed to football, as she lacks the support of sponsors. However, with the administration team created and by working collaboratively together, it went as they planned for.
The admin team included Mazoon al Zadjali, Shifa al Sharji, Azza al Sharji, Alya al Busaidy, Alhanoun al Barwani, Arwa al Hinai, Maram al Said, and Husan al Musawi. They worked together to get the sponsorship they needed by approaching several clubs.
The next step faced is finding a football pitch and that was quite a minor challenge for the team. After searching, they could contact the marvelous Faris al Ismaili, who is coaching the team out of passion and voluntarily, along with the sponsor from Muscat Club. Today, Muscat Women’s Football Club is coached voluntarily by a male coach, Faris Ismaili, and a female coach, Ahlam al Marjbi, who is also a verified Fifa level coach.
“I took care of advertising for the team abroad through the social media means and also by connection with different academies and football organisations outside of Oman”, Mazoon says.
After recently winning a Soccer Squad Photo Competition held by the Women in Soccer organisation community, the team gained a good international reputation through profitable and non-profit football organisations outside of Oman.
Beside Malak’s aim to be a professional football player, she also aims at being part of a positive change in women’s football field here in Oman. “I want to build a future in football for the next generations. I want to be an inspirational entity for the next generations of footballers here in Oman.”, Malak adds.