Meet 29-year-old Hasnaa Doumi, the woman who has made history as the first female to coach a men’s football team, L’Ittihad Riadi Fkih Ben Salah Club in Morocco.
Doumi is a former football player who played for the Atlas Lioness and ended her career in football at age 25 despite being told by many that she had great prospects before her. She aspired to switch lanes from playing football to pursue her career as a coach.
When she joined the L’Ittihad Riadi Fkih Ben Salah Club three months ago, it was 13th in position and kept sinking still, however, the team has been revived in Doumi’s hands and has attained seven wins and two draws, making a total of 23 points, a record in the amateur league, according to Africa News.
Doumi’s appointment is a gateway for women’s involvement in football and a great feat for females who are aspiring to be like her one day, in a totally dominated male sport.
Although this strong woman is visibly changing her team’s narrative and is helping them soar, she still says she feels society’s criticism of her gender and her position. “The only difficulty for me now is how society views me,” she said, noting that no one says it to her face, but she sees the backlash mostly on social networks.
She further explained that “Football is for men, they say, I had only the support of my relatives and my family because they know my experience in football and for me, I do not pay attention to criticism from society. I have the support of my parents and that has helped me in my career.”
Morocco is still celebrating its victory for women in football as the national women’s football team qualified for its first-ever FIFA World Cup.
Doumi expressed that her appointment to the men’s club is an honor, especially since she is the first of her kind. She asserted that she will use the opportunity given to her to make a point to the local team managers that women are as capable to coach and have to be given more opportunities.
Before her current position as the coach of the men’s team, Doumi’s coaching expertise had led her to the Asbat Tadla women’s football team. She also worked as an assistant coach for the Olympique Fakih Bansalah team in the Beni Mellal Khenifra regional football league, according to Morroco World News.
Captain of the club, Abdelhadi Bennane, said that Doumi arrived at a critical moment. According to him, the team worked hand in hand with the female coach to overcome the team’s difficulties, even though they first found her appointment surprising.
The 28-year-old added that “She has a strong personality. She listens and finally the fact that she is a woman has changed a lot of looks. Whether she is a woman or a man does not make a big difference,” according to dayFREURO.
Advising young women who aspire to be footballers, Doumi said, “I have noticed an increasing number of women who want to get involved in football. If you have a goal in mind, you have to fight for it. Reach with desire and determination, you will get there.”