Moroccan defender, Nouhaila Benzina, has made history as the first player to wear a hijab during a FIFA Women’s World Cup match.
Benzina wore the Islamic scarf and played a big role in her team’s 1-0 victory against South Korea on Sunday in Adelaide.
The world governing body FIFA had lifted its ban on footballers wearing the hijab nearly a decade ago, addressing previous concerns over player safety.
Despite the ban being lifted for several years now, it was only during this Women’s World Cup that Benzina seized the opportunity to make her mark and pave the way for more inclusivity and diversity in the sport.
Nouhaila, aged 25, plays her club football in her home country and had been vocal about her intentions to wear the hijab during the tournament.
Leading up to the World Cup, she shared her thoughts and excitement on social media, signaling the significance of the moment for her and Muslim women worldwide.
However, she chose not to speak to the media in Australia and New Zealand about her decision.
In an interview with broadcaster Al Jazeera, Nouhaila expressed her joy in the way the match ended.
“Lots of work was done over many years, and thank God it had a positive result,” she said.
The Moroccan team earned their spot at the Women’s World Cup following a historic runners-up finish at the 2022 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations, under the guidance of French coach Reynald Pedros.
Although, their first group match against Germany resulted in a 6-0 loss.