Sanandaj, Iranian Kurdistan (K24) – Kurdistan Province futsal team was promoted to the second division after winning its preliminary competitions.
The under-16 futsal team in Kermanshah and Kurdistan Provinces in Rojhalat (Iranian Kurdistan) will compete with the teams from other provinces in Iran.
Despite ethnic, gender, and economic hardships, Kurdish women shine nationally through football and futsal. They compete in three different levels, under 12, under 16 and adults. The women team became the Iranian champion last winter and won the fifth season this year.
Kurdistan Under-12 girls’ team also won an honor for Rojhalat when they finished first place among 23 teams across various provinces in Iran in the fall.
Selected as the top team in the country, the U-12 team won five games and only lost once. They defeated Southern Khorasan, Gulistan, Alborz, Khuzestan and Bushehr and suffered a loss to Kugiloieh Bouirahmar.
Three talented players, Pardis Emami from Kamyaran, Mina Feizipour from Sina (Sanandaj), and Marzieh Mantashloo from Ghorwa, were selected to play for the national team.
Kurdish women have faced various cultural and financial challenges to maintain and train their team, despite winning honor for Kurdistan province that men’s futsal and football teams have not achieved.
Coach Sharmin Rahmati told K24 that most of the children come from working class families, but the experience has been very rewarding despite all the challenges they have faced.
“It’s amazing to watch these children get more skilled at controlling the ball, making quick and wise decisions on and off the field, and acting in a more focused way. They have learned how to treat the opposite team better, and how to work with their teammates effectively. I am just thrilled to see how they are becoming more mature people overall.”
Coach Fatma Hoseini told K24 that in the socio-economically marginalized Kurdish regions in Iran, sport has become more than just a game for the young women.
“It has been very challenging to get these kids where they are today but their success is rewarding. The children are now more confident, more social, and a lot more patient than before we started training them. They are physically healthy and happy and that’s all I ever wanted for them,” Hoseini said.
Reporting by Ava Homa
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany and Benjamin Kweskin