Sarah Essam speaks on women’s football in Egypt and her journey
Egyptian womens football sensation Sarah Essam has spoken on her journey to where she is now in football from her humble beginnings at Wadi Degla.
In an interview with Dugout, Essam detailed her career so far and her influence on womens football in Egypt.
She began by saying “I joined an academy in Egypt, at a club called Wedi Degla, and I played in the junior team for the club and then I went to the first team when I was 15 years old. I played in the league as the youngest one in the league, then they took me in the national team, the under 17s and then after that I went to the national team for the first team ladies. Actually it feels amazing to be the first Egyptian girl to play here.”
On womens football in Egypt, she said “It’s really hard because some people don’t accept it. They don’t really accept that a girl can play football, and they don’t have this much appreciation in the country for womens football.
One of the aspects of football that we all forget is the background work by the players’ families, on which Essam said “At the beginning they didn’t really accept it, they said that I’m not going to reach anything, there’s no womens football, they don’t know about it. I was really competitive and insistent to reach something in football, they started to support me and this is what happened – I came here and I signed for such a big club like Stoke. It’s really a good start for me and it’s amazing.”
“I think I’m doing something really good for womens football in Egypt. I’m taking it to the next level and really, it’s an honour for me to do that for Egypt. Especially when we have really good talent in Egypt. But there is no attention, or no professionalism in the game as there is here in England and in Stoke. Some people didn’t know, even, that we play football in Egypt, the women.”
Essam also offered some advice to young aspiring female footballers in Egypt, saying “I would like to tell them to work hard. Working hard pays off, and to never give up no matter what. Even if some people don’t believe in you or they say that you’re not good enough. You have to train hard, you have to work on yourself, you have to reach your dream.”
The 19 year old also revealed who her role model is. “Of course I am going to say Salah. He’s really good, he started, some people didn’t believe in him in Egypt but he didn’t give up, he worked hard, now he’s the best player in Egypt, he’s one of the best players in the world.”
Stoke are currently 5th in the Womens National League North, which is the third tier of the English womens footballing pyramid. Their next game is away at Sunderland on Sunday 11th of November at 4pm Egyptian time.
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