Morocco’s Nouhaila Benzina is the First Player to Wear Hijab at World Cup

The wearing of a hijab on the international stage has long been a source of contention. The wearing of a hijab on the field has been prohibited for the past 20 years. In 2007, a referee forbade an 11-year-old Canadian girl from wearing a hijab while competing in a derby. FIFA stepped in and prohibited the use of the Islamic identification scarf in official games.

FIFA noted that wearing a hijab raised health and safety concerns due to the possibility of a player being suffocated while playing football. Several efforts have been made in the years since to overturn FIFA’s restriction on the wearing of hijab.

As a result, Nouhaila Benzina became the first footballer to wear a hijab during the Women’s World Cup on Sunday. The Moroccan defender, 25, has not spoken on the matter, but she has shared several photos of herself wearing her headscarf.

Ghizlane Chebbak, the captain of the Moroccan squad, stated at the start of the game that they were not just at the tournament to play but also to make a cultural statement. Benzina’s performance during Morocco’s historic win against South Korea in Australia on Sunday underlined the Islamic nation’s goal of putting its culture on the map.

This is notable because, ten years ago, a Moroccan player attempting to wear a headscarf during the World Cup was barred. She will be offered the option of wearing the hijab or participating in the games. Benzina’s deed has opened the floodgates for the Muslim community to freely express their beliefs on a global scale.

According to the Daily Mail, the gesture has received widespread praise from the Muslim community and is considered as an example to many young ladies who want to express their identity without fear or intimidation.

In Morocco, where wearing the hijab is not prohibited, Benzina plays for the Association’s Sports of Forces Armed Royal. Players are free to associate with the choice of wearing or not wearing a hijab on the field.

Written by PH

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