Article written by Golf Clubs Guide
Hanan Ahmad Khaled is a household name in women’s sports in Egypt. Her decision to join women soccer before becoming a referee was a welcome development for the sport in Egypt, and appreciated by Sahar El Hawary the pioneer of women soccer in the country. A well-built athlete, who was the Arab and Africa champion in discuss, shot put and hammer throw for many years, she had participated in six World Athletics Championships. Some of her glorious moments include gold in both Discuss and shot put in 1991 All African Games in Cairo, and a Shot put gold in Zimbabwe’95 before retiring from athletics field events in favor of her favorite sport, soccer.
“Even during my days in the athletics field events, I’ve always loved soccer but unfortunately women soccer was not in existence in Egypt as an official game,” said Khalid,” and that moving to soccer after retirement in 1998 was what she always wanted to do.”
Telling of her brief encounter with a soccer agent during one of her athletics training camp in Greece, she said: “It was just after a soccer game with my friends as part of our activities in the camp. To my surprise, this agent approached me with an offer toplay professional soccer in Europe. He tried to convince me but I declined because I was only in Greece in preparation for an important international championship. I never knew he was watching me throughout the game.”
Hanan Khaled played her role as a good player when women soccer officially took effect. She participated in the first women’s soccer league in 1991, which she won with reigning champions Maaden Club. At the same time she was officiating matches as an amateur referee.
“Playing and officiating was actually against the rules of the game. So I decided to quit playing and became a referee. Being a referee was the idea of Sahar El Hawary, which I thought over carefully before jumping into conclusion. Already, I have the personality of a disciplined female athlete and one of the avenues I felt was best to maintain my dignity in sport was to contribute to the development of women soccer,” said Hanan Khaled.
She enjoys great respect as a female referee in Egypt, as well as tremendous support from Egyptian and Arab soccer administrators. Her commendable effort and commitment contributed to the Egyptian Football Federation’s inclusion of women in the referee course of 2000.
She participated in the Egypt Olympic Academy for Sports training to study the technicalities of the games. ” I believe that for anyone to be good in what he or she does, a clear understanding of thefundamentals of it should be a priority. I want to know about soccer more than what I know at the moment in order to excel,” Said Khalid who also feels that Egyptian women referees will attain greater heights in the near future.
Giving a general view of women soccer in Egypt, she said: “After seven years, the level of the game is encouraging, but we need to implement women soccer in schools to groom players. We also need more clubs to participate in competitions because the existing 15 clubs are not enough.”
She said Egypt’s chances of becoming a women powerhouse in the continent like Nigeria , Ghana or South Africa is not feasible in the near future unless everyone is on deck to develop the game at various levels. However, she is optimistic that the junior team is capable of bridging the gap and possibly ruling the continent in no distant future.