2nd Place; The Long and Difficult Path of the Mauritanian National Women's Football Team by Lucas Barioulet
Founded in 2019, the Mauritanian women's national football team played its first international match, against Djibouti, last summer (it was defeated 3-1). The Islamic Republic of Mauritania is a deeply conservative society, and for many the idea of women taking part in such a sport is unpalatable. Coach Abdoulaye Diallo - a former Mauritanian international player - visited the playgrounds of Nouakchott to recruit women for the team. Here he found girls playing football with boys, often in secret. Now Haby, Coumba, Adjara, Fama and the rest of the team train four times a week under his watchful eye. “We want to change society’s vision of women in Mauritania,” claims the director of the feminine football federation, Oumou Kane. The path has not been easy, but being part of the team enables women of all backgrounds to play together, in a society that is still heavily divided.