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Residents of Ghor Safi rejoice over brand new football field

By Muath Freij - Apr 07,2018 - Last updated at Apr 07,2018

Women football players take part in a friendly game at the new pitch in Ghor Safi on Thursday (Photo by Muath Freij)

GHOR SAFI — The dangerous environment Nathmi Al Shaar’s children used to play football in was a constant source of concern for him.

Shaar, father of 15, said that his children used to turn to the street or sand playgrounds to practice their favourite sports due to the lack of football facilities in the area.

“They used to play on the street in a very dangerous area and in the sand which made some of them suffer a lot physically,” he recalled. 

But Shaar is now in jubilation as he watches the historic all-female match held in Ghor Safi at the lowest point on earth (-320 metres) as part of the Equal Playing Field (EPF) initiative.

The match was organised at a pitch especially constructed for the event under the directives of HRH Prince Ali, which was then handed to the area’s residents.

“Now I will be relieved because my children will play in a safe environment and we will be spending our evenings here,” he told The Jordan Times.

Sahreef Al Maaqnah, who plays for the Ghor Safi youth club, said that this is the only pitch in southern Ghor, adding that it will boost sport activities in the area.

“We will now be able to enhance the skills of the local players. Before, we did not manage to achieve any success due to the lack of such facilities,” he remembered.

“It is the lowest pitch in the world and it will be handed to the residents of the area so they can keep playing football here. There are many girls who showed enthusiasm for playing football,” said Yasmeen Shabsough, one of the 25 women players in the game.

The game was organised as an attempt to set a Guinness World Record for the lowest match in the world, after EPF set a similar record for the highest women football match ever played when two all-women teams competed at the top of Kilimanjaro last June. 

The result will be known after two weeks, said Laura Youngson, co-founder of EPF, who stressed that this attempt aims to be a “tool of inspiration” for generations to come.  

She noted that there is still a lot of misconceptions about women playing sports in the region. “We wanted to show that women athletes can play sports and we have had a great response so far,” she added.

For local resident Taha Atyah, having the pitch in the area is a “dream come true”. “My children used to play in residential areas which resulted in lots of noise for residents, also preventing students from studying during the evening. Now, I am optimistic for the future of my children in the field of sports,” he concluded.

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