Morocco’s Nouhaila Benzina makes history with hijab at Women’s World Cup

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Nouhaila Benzina made history by being the first player to wear a hijab in a Women’s World Cup match.

She wore the Muslim headscarf during Morocco’s game against South Korea on Sunday. 

FIFA, the world governing body for football, had previously banned the hijab due to safety concerns but lifted the ban almost ten years ago.

The 25-year-old defender, Benzina, who plays for a club in Morocco, made her mark in history by participating in the match against South Korea in Adelaide. Prior to the World Cup, Benzina posted on social media about wearing a hijab, but she has not discussed it with the media in Australia and New Zealand.

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Nouhaila Benzina during the game
Nouhaila Benzina during the game

In a recent interview with Al Jazeera, she expressed that it would be a moment of pride.

“Lots of work was done over many years, and thank God it had a positive result,” she said.

“We hope to play at a high level and honour Moroccans.”

In recent years, bans on wearing hijab have been lifted in various sports, such as basketball. However, in France, it is still not permitted during official football matches. The Moroccan women’s team, led by French coach Reynald Pedros, is participating in their first Women’s World Cup after achieving a remarkable second-place finish at the 2022 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations. 

In their first match of the tournament, they suffered a heavy defeat of 6-0 against Germany, with Benzina not being included in the playing lineup.

READ ALSO: Co-hosts New Zealand crash out of Women’s World Cup after a goalless draw with Switzerland

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