It’s time for ladies to change the game

Left to right: Yasmeen Shabsough, Prince Ali Al Hussein, Haneen Khateeb (Photo: Handout from Haneen Khateeb)
Left to right: Yasmeen Shabsough, Prince Ali Al Hussein, Haneen Khateeb (Photo: Handout from Haneen Khateeb)
AMMAN – Women athletes are often thwarted by gender inequalities in sports, and football player Haneen Khateeb believes it is time for this to change. اضافة اعلان

“My main goal is to encourage women and help them believe in themselves and follow their passions,” said Khateeb in a recent interview with Jordan News.

Khateeb described to Jordan News her experience at Mount Kilimanjaro, which is located north of Tanzania and listed as Africa’s highest peak. There, she played a football game at an altitude of 5,714m and, along with her teammate Yasmeen Shabsough, won a Guinness Record.

“Representing Jordan, our beloved country, Yasmeen and I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro with other female footballers to play a match on the highest peak of Africa and under extraordinary conditions,” she said.

Equal Playing Field (EPF), through which Khateeb and Shabsough reached Kilimanjaro, is an initiative that raises awareness about inequalities faced by women in sports.

“I joined Equal Playing Field to support this initiative and raise awareness about the importance of women in sports,” Khateeb said, adding that she hopes this would also challenge female athlete stereotypes.

The footballer discussed that after the Mount Kilimanjaro game, Jordan hosted the lowest altitude women's football game, which took place at the Dead Sea — the lowest point on earth.

“It started as a joke, then it turned into our second world record,” said Khateeb.

Khateeb started playing football when she was 11 years old.

“In the old streets, I used to play football with the boys in my neighborhood, which we made into our own playground. I played until the age of 16, and then the culture emerged that girls should not play football,” she said. “Since then, I treated football as my passion.”

For seven years, Khateeb played for Amman Club, Jordan's highest ranking women's football club. She then played for Jordan Football Association, representing the Kingdom in several championships. Next, in 2016, she co-organized the 2016 U-17 Women’s World Cup in Jordan.

Among Jordan’s achievements in the sports field, Khateeb saw HRH Prince Ali Al Hussein’s Asian Football Development Project (AFDP) as the most enlightening.

She said “AFDP, which aims to develop sports and give opportunities to refugees and disadvantaged people,” evoked in her the desire to train young girls in football.

She added that Prince Ali Al Hussein has been a strong advocate for gender equality in football — both in Jordan and across the globe.

“The event was attended by 14 countries from all over the world, some of whom do not speak the language of the other,” she said. “But football was the way of communication, which created harmony between the teams.”

Since then, Khateeb has worked as a sports development officer for Madrasati, a Royal initiative launched by Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah, from 2017 to 2019, and today, she is fulfilling one of her goals at GIZ Jordan, a project that utilizes sport as a tool for social development in children.

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