Zara Najjar: Falcons star and inspiring entrepreneur

Zara Najjar was one of the choices for FIBA’s Most Valuable Players in the Asian Cup, Division B. (Photo: Jordan Basketball Federation)

AMMAN — The 27-year-old Zara Najjar was present in the International Basketball Federation’s (FIBA) list on its official website as a choice for Most Valuable Player (MVP) in the Asian Cup’s Division B. However, beyond basketball, Najjar also has a passion for entrepreneurship and the social and economic advancement of women.اضافة اعلان

Najjar has been an outstanding key player for the women’s national basketball team, the Falcons, and was chosen to be in the final six nominees for the MVP award, further proving her incredible abilities.
Born into a family obsessed with basketball, Najjar was influenced by her older siblings, who made sure that she was introduced to the sport at a young age.

”I was in the first grade playing after school at the basketball field alone, waiting for my older siblings to finish their classes. The basketball coach came up to me, saw I had potential, and asked me to train with the fifth graders instead,” she said.

The Orthodox forward position player has taken part in many competitions and tournaments with the national team, but this one was different, “this competition was something different, the fact that we were hosting gave us incredible motivation, we trained so hard in the gym and on court to show everyone what we can do and our potential, and I believe we did just that,” she said.

“I wish we won it; I truly do. But that doesn’t stop me from being proud of the girls and the achievements we made. People shouldn’t forget the fact that we moved to be ranked within the best ten teams in Asia, and we can’t forget that the Lebanese team has usually been a Division A team, and it was a matter of time for them to be back in that division. For us this was our first step in a long journey, with the continuous support of the Jordan Basketball Federation, I’m sure we can get to Division A in the future.”

After more than a week from the loss to the Lebanese team, the Jordanian Basketball Federation and team members have now had some time to study their flaws and make notes of where they can improve.

“To be honest, before this competition, we never had the confidence to compete on this level, and I think this competition helped us know where we actually stand. We are actually good and younger than most teams competing. I am 27 years old and considered one of the experienced players on the team. At 27, I still have ten more years to perform in my career,” she explained.

“If you look at Marya Al-Hinn, people just found out about how good she really is. At 23, she still has a lot to give the national team,” she said.

She also added that she believes that the reason why the fans still cheered at the arena until the last second is because they realized that there is something different this time, “they sensed the potential this team has.”

“I am very proud to share the locker room with Natasha Cloud, not just because she’s an incredible athlete but also because she is a very inspiring advocate for social justice, that always fought hard and used her voice for what she stands for.”

Najjar has always been very passionate about basketball, but the Boston University Mechanical Engineering graduate knows very well how to keep her busy when she’s not occupied with basketball.

“Entrepreneurship has always been one of my greatest interests; even though I graduated from the school of engineering, I instantly started working in the entrepreneurship field after I graduated,” she said.

To change the narrative about what it means to play sports “like a girl,” Najjar and her long-time friend Ayah Saeed founded “Zay El-Banat” in 2020, which is a movement and brand that set out to shift perceptions of sexist phrases such as “like a girl.”

The movement uses social media and branded hoodies and jerseys to convey its message of empowerment, encouraging women and girls to take pride in who they are.

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