I remember walking past the community market of where I ‘d grow up with chants of women beckoning on buyers to buy their wares. Some raised their voices a little higher than others just to make higher sales. Each of them trying to out-sale the other, they were seen as strong women at the grass root level who took pride in venturing into trade just to cater for their family needs which used to be basically a man’s occupation.

With the evolving of times and set narratives. This is no longer the case.

Meet Salma Al-Majidi, the coach of a male football team in Sudan. In 2012, Sudan’s Islamic Fiqh Council issued a religious order banning the formation of a national women’s football team in the country. Their reason? It’s an ‘immoral act’. This might have broken the hearts of women like Salma but like the saying goes “when life throws lemons at you, you make lemonades out of them.”

While the order had made most Sudanese women abandon their dreams of becoming professional footballers, Salma al-Majidi has gone around it by becoming a football coach instead – and her players are all men. She started dreaming about a career in football at the age of 16, being confident that she had her mind made up, she approached a coach in charge of a boys’ team and asked to work with him.

From there, she started coaching under-13 and under-16 teams. Now at 27, not only does she have the CAF “B” badge – meaning she can coach any first league team across the continent – she has coached four Sudanese men’s clubs so far. Two of the clubs even topped local leagues under her coaching.

Al-Majidi looks forward to coaching an international team someday. Having broken down barriers, It is impossible to stop her.

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