Soccer star becomes first woman to coach a men’s pro team in Egypt

GIZA, Egypt, Oct 26 (Reuters) – Faiza Heidar grew up playing soccer in the streets with the boys and went on to captain Egypt’s national women’s team. Now she has become the first woman to train one of the country’s professional men’s clubs.

Heidar has been signed up by the fourth division side Ideal Goldi, based in Giza.

“There is usually some mockery at the beginning,” the 36-year-old told Reuters.

“But then they realize that they will learn something, that they will develop their skills.”

She said she was the first Egyptian coach – male or female – to gain the Premier Skills Coach Educator status, certified by England’s Premier League.

Soccer remains an overwhelmingly male sport in Egypt.

“I would tell her not to go. She would say: ‘No, I will go.’ She loved the sport,” said Heidar’s mother, Khodra Abdelrahman.

“I let her go and prayed that God help her. And she did go, and she has done so well.”

Reporting by Ahmed Fahmy; Writing by Nadeen Ebrahim; Editing by Andrew Heavens

FILE PHOTO: Faiza Haider, 36, soccer player and Egypt’s first Premier League-certified coach, attends a training of all-male Ideal Goldi team in Giza, Egypt October 19, 2020. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

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