Football: Emirati Houriya Taheri, first Arab woman to join FIFA as an expert © Twitter
Houriya Taheri is the first Arab woman to be appointed as a FIFA expert. It is the ultimate achievement for this young football coach who has faced many obstacles. Today, she carries on her lifelong dream by training the new generations of female football stars in the United Arab Emirates.
In 2007, while she was visiting FIFA headquarters in Zurich, the young Emirati football player Houriya Taheri met an accredited coach, who came to give lectures. Houriya was fascinated by this woman, who held a position she thought impossible, as being a woman. She could not resist to ask her how she made it to this stage. “One day you’ll be there”, she answered, quite touched by the fascination of this young football player. A prophecy that has become true !
Playing football as a woman, a lifelong dream
Yet, as a child, while she as discovering football with her brothers and the cartoon Captain Majed, the Arabic version of Captain Tsubasa, she had never thought about making it her career. As she was playing only for fun, it became a real passion. This passion just grew under the difficulties she face and became her hobby horse.
Houriya understood the extent of the obstacles to overcome to be able to practice as a female professional football player in the UAE, while she was growing up and improving her level. She was so passionate and sure that she was fighting for the good, she chose to be among the first Emirati women fighting for a female national team to compete official tournaments.
Learning abroad, teaching in the UAE
Because of lack of consideration for female football in her country, Houriya decided to leave the United Arab Emirates and pursue her dream in Asia where she followed several trainings courses. In Malaysia, she obtained a professional football coaching license, becoming the first Arab woman to earn this degree.
Back in the UAE, she stared coaching Abu Dhabi Country Club, a local women’s football squad. She was elected, in her first season, best coach of the league. A year later, the young woman was even voted best female UAE football figure and became assistant coach of the United Arab Emirates National Women’s Team while leading the women’s national under-15 team.
Training the new generation of professional Arab female football players
Currently operating as technical director of the Emirates Women’s Football Commission, she continues to work for football at all levels. She also created her own academy “Becoming A Legend” for girls and boys and has been selected as an expert by FIFA, becoming the first Arab woman to hold such a position.