History was made in Sudan on Monday with the first match of the brand new women’s football league being played in Khartoum Stadium , with chants of “civilian rule” from the crowd.
It was a sight that would have been virtually unimaginable under the rule of former President Omar al-Bashir – after the country adopted Islamic law in 1983.
The championship, which involves 21 clubs, would have seemed unlikely just months ago when long time Islamist ruler Omar al-Bashir was in power.
The first club match was played between Tahadi and Difaain in the capital on Monday. Matches are also scheduled for Madani, Al-Obeid and Kadugli.
The match was attended by Sudan’s new Minister of Sport Wala Essam and some Sudanese and foreign diplomats.
“This is a historical game not only for women’s sport but for Sudan,” Essam told reporters. “We will give special attention to women’s sport and women’s football.
Mervat Hussein, the head of women’s football at the Sudanese football association, who attended Monday’s historic match, told that it was a “real opportunity”.
“Many players [have been] waiting for this moment and it’s a real opportunity to play football at last,” she said.
Bashir was ousted by the army in a palace coup on April 11 on the back of nationwide protests against his iron-fisted rule.
A new joint civilian-military ruling body, called the sovereign council, is governing of the country for a transition period of 39 months.
The 11-member council has six civilians including two women.