FIFA Women's World Cup™ Trophy pays a visit to Morocco
On Monday, March 20th, on the occasion of the FIFA Women's World Cup™ Trophy tour in Morocco, the Australian and New Zealand Embassies to Morocco, in collaboration with the Royal Moroccan Football Foundation (FMRF), the “Fédération Internationale De Football” Association (FIFA) and UN Women in Morocco, organized an event to celebrate women and young girls in sports.
This event, which came just after International Women's Day, was an opportunity for the young girls to meet and be inspired by brilliant women who are leaders and major contributors to women's sports.
During the opening of the ceremony, HE. Mr. Michael Cutts, Australia's Ambassador to Morocco, expressed his belief that sports can be a powerful tool for promoting gender equality and empowering individuals. According to him, being part of a team can teach individuals valuable lessons in resilience and self-reliance.
Ms. Leila Rhiwi, UN Women’s Representative in Morocco, led a dynamic roundtable discussion where a group of accomplished Moroccan sportswomen shared their insights and experiences. Ms. Bouchra Baibanou, a renowned mountaineer, shared her extraordinary experience as the first Moroccan to have climbed Mt Everest. “My first ascent as a climber was in Toubkal Mountain. Upon reaching its summit for the first time, I was overwhelmed with a profound sense of accomplishment and empowerment. The experience ignited a powerful realization within me: anything is possible for women who dare to dream and aspire to greatness”. Ms. Fouzia Madhouni, a social entrepreneur, American football coach, and activist, spoke passionately about her work in empowering marginalized communities. “As someone who hails from an underprivileged background, I understand firsthand the obstacles that can hinder one's ability to pursue their dreams and reach their full potential. It is with deep gratitude and a sense of responsibility that I now seek to give back to my community and offer assistance to other girls who find themselves in similar circumstances.” Lastly, the floor was given to Ms. Ghizlane Chebbak, an international footballer and captain of the Atlas Lionesses, who discussed the challenges that she faced in pursuing her career in a male-dominated sport. “I was fortunate to have sports parents who provided me with unwavering encouragement and support. However, in my neighbourhood, I encountered resistance from boys who were sceptical of my abilities and unwilling to accept a girl playing soccer. Today, the same individuals who once doubted me now celebrate my achievements and congratulate me on my participation in the women's world cup!”.
“It is with great pride and utmost honour that I, as a representative of UN Women in Morocco, reflect upon my experience moderating a discussion with exceptional women who embody talent and empowerment”, stated Ms. Rhiwi, as a conclusion to this roundtable that she moderated.
The event saw also the participation of young girls from the TIBU Africa non-profit organization (a long-time partner of the Australian embassy), who took part in a football drill session and goal shootouts.
During the event, the trophy was also unveiled in the presence of Australia's Ambassador to Morocco, HE. Mr. Michael Cutts, along with Ms. Kelsie Wilkinson from the Embassy of New Zealand, and representatives of the FRMF.
With a view to increasing the participation of women in football, FIFA chooses the theme of 'Spotlight: Going beyond' for its campaign ahead of the World Cup which will be held in Australia and New Zealand from 20 July to 20 August 2023. Morocco will participate along with 31 other countries by fielding its national team, the Atlas Lionesses.