Al-Hilal vanquish bitter rivals Al-Nassr 2-0 to win Riyadh Season Cup

RIYADH: The eighth edition of the West Asian Federation Women’s Football Championship is to be held in Saudi Arabia from Feb. 19-29, it was announced on Monday.

The host nation will be joined by Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, and two guests, Guam and Nepal.

It will be the first women’s 11-a-side tournament to be held in the Kingdom and marks the Saudi women national team’s first participation in a regional championship under the organization of the West Asian Federation.

In a draw made on Monday in Amman, hosts Saudi Arabia, coached by Lluis Cortes, were given a tough group along with Lebanon, Guam, and Jordan.

Group B will see Palestine, Syria, Iraq, and Nepal battle it out for a top-two finish and semifinal spot.

Lamia Bahaian, the vice president of the Saudi Arabian Football Federation, said: “We’re absolutely thrilled to be hosting the WAFF Women’s Championship.

“Looking ahead to what promises to be a brilliant tournament, we’re especially excited about the impact this will have in terms of inspiring women and young girls across the Kingdom, while supporting women’s football development nationally and regionally.

“The individual and collective success of our domestic leagues, together with our success in hosting two editions of the SAFF Women’s Friendly Tournament and the 2022 WAFF Futsal Championship, shows that the foundations are in place for us to take the next big step in our journey.

“This means hosting an official 11-a-side competition. We’re excited to welcome members of the wider football ecosystem together for an incredible event, one that’s certain to showcase the full power of football as a force for good and a platform for turning dreams into reality.”

The tournament has been dominated by Arab teams in the past, with Jordan winning five of the previous seven editions and the UAE grabbing the other two.

WAFF’s General Secretary Khalil Al-Salem said: “There is no doubt that this tournament will witness high-level competition and exceptional organization, building on the Saudi Arabian Football Federation’s successful track record in hosting football tournaments at various levels.”

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