The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and its Member Associations (MAs) will mark the 9th AFC Women’s Football Day today with a series of wide-ranging activities aimed at celebrating and promoting the continued progress of the women’s game in Asia.
Close to 13,900 participants from 37 MAs are expected to enjoy specially planned programmes and festivities, with some spanning across the entirety of this March.
Coinciding with the International Women’s Day, this edition is especially timely with the FIFA Women's World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023™ set to take place in July. With a record six Asian teams – Australia, China PR, Japan, Korea Republic and debutants Philippines and Vietnam – confirming their places in the global showpiece, participants will not be short on role models and inspiration in the pursuit of their footballing dreams.
AFC President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa said: “It fills me with pride to say that the AFC is the first and only Confederation in the world to have a designated day to acknowledge the commitment of all the women who strive to make football the number one sport on the Continent, as outlined in the AFC’s Vision.
“Thanks to the unity and commitment of our MAs and Regional Associations (RAs), the women’s game in Asia has achieved phenomenal success in the past year.
“The performance of the women’s national teams and clubs has been a shining example of the tireless efforts of the MAs and RAs in enhancing the standards of professional women’s football in Asia and the progress made by Asian women on the pitch is matched by the success of our officials and administrators off the pitch.
“As we celebrate the history Asian women are scripting, let us also look forward to the many new chapters that we will write together in the firm assurance that the AFC will always work in close partnership with all of you to usher in a new era for the women’s game,” added Shaikh Salman.
As many as 31 MAs from last year have continued their involvement in this year’s AFC Women's Football Day, with Bhutan, Guam, India, Kyrgyz Republic, Northern Mariana Islands, Palestine, Singapore and Vietnam participating for the ninth time. There are also returns for the trio of Bahrain, Indonesia and Japan as well as Pakistan who celebrated the milestone occasion in 2019 and 2020 respectively.
This edition will also break new ground with the West Asian pair of Qatar and Saudi Arabia marking their first appearance with a range of activities. While Qatar will stage a football festival for girls aged 14 and below, Saudi Arabia have planned a fun-filled girls’ football festival in Riyadh featuring their senior women’s side, who made their international debut last year, as well as their U-17 starlets.
In Guam, the AFC Women’s Football Day activities will serve as a platform for other social responsibility events. The Guam Football Association (GFA), which designates Sunday as a traditional day to host women’s events, will run the Sugar & Spice Middle School Girls Soccer Festival for 200 students across 12 schools as well as league games.
Surrounding that, the GFA will partner with other stakeholders to launch an anti-bullying campaign targeted at 24 elementary schools, raise cancer awareness and host a donation drive to benefit victims of crime and trauma as part of efforts to make an island-wide impact.