Empowerment is gradually spreading within Moroccan society with women taking on football leadership. This is the case of Bahia El Yahmidi, a singular personality and a true activist who knew how to realize her dream and that of the girls she accompanies.
Winner of the Center National des Sports Moulay Rachid, graduate of ENS, Bahia El Yahmidi was a high school physical education teacher for 32 years before pursuing her dream and eventually coaching one of the most powerful women’s football teams. , of national and even international renown. She has held her current position as head of the women’s football section of AS FAR since 2012.
The ambitious Bahia, with many years of experience, has been in charge, since long before her integration into the AS FAR family, of a women’s football team in Salé. ” It was the selection of the Salé delegation. I took care of this delegation from 2000 until 2007 exactly. Meanwhile, in 2004, I had created my association, the fruit of school work“, she confides to us.
” I had a good team, we won a lot of matches and tournaments“, adds the manager, noting that the players, at a certain point, could no longer practice this sport in which they are gifted since they are no longer in high school. ” So, I thought about creating my association and bringing all these girls together. And we had started to play at the beginning in the districts, against the boys, and in tournaments at the regional level, then national. This female team was called Fatayat Al-Amal Assalaoui“, explains El Yahmidi.
And to add: I had worked in this direction, to go further in women’s football, but for lack of means, as usual, I could not continue. With this team, for three years, I had to pay for everything myself, because we didn’t have the means. The local authorities did not offer the means at the time, which meant that everything was paid for out of my pocket. Luckily I was employed“.
Indeed, his journey has had many pitfalls and society has not made it easy for him. The leader had to face financial, societal and even infrastructural obstacles which prevented the association, around the third year, from continuing its activities and proceeding with a merger with the Sports Association of Salé ( ASS), after the suggestions of his entourage, to provide for the needs of the players and allow them to continue to practice this sport.
” It worked during the first year when we merged with the ASS. We had the land, the necessary means to travel, we had no problem with catering or accommodation. But from the second year, the difficulties started to arise, especially since I had to do the same thing as what I was doing with my team before.“, lamented the woman with multiple hats.
What struck her the most was the attempt to replace her, as manager of the team, with another person, a man, to give a helping hand to the young girls. ” It didn’t work either. Suddenly, they still wanted to put him as president, while I was the president. I had nevertheless brought a team on a golden platter, girls ready in the first division and they still wanted to change me. I didn’t accept and so I left.“, says Bahia El Yahmidi.
However, this decision is not to be regretted and neither did it prevent her from pursuing her dream, her passion. After leaving ASS, the supervisor joined AS FAR and formed an exemplary team. ” We managed to have a good team. And we started winning. We started winning since 2012 until today. Our girls now form the backbone of the national team“, the manager tells us proudly.
In addition, El Yahmidi revealed a little secret to MoroccoLatestNews: “ I would have liked to be a player, to be a coach and everything. But there, I still had the gift of coaching. I even coached school teams. But I wanted to go to the managerial side, to the side that allows me to take care of these girls because they were delivered, sometimes, to anyone. Me, I lived that. I understand what a girl’s world is like playing in a club where there are only male coaches, so I forced it. I came into this world, and it wasn’t easy“. According to the manager, it was difficult to see a woman competing with a man in the field.
The role of Bahia, a mother, is to bring together these talented young girls, to take care of them, and to solve all the problems that can slow them down. ” I am here for that, to provide all that is missing. I’m there for moral comfort, to mediate when they encounter a technical problem, mediate with the staff and even with the managers and it goes on both sides“, she let know.
It should be noted that the AS FAR women’s team has won several championships since 2012, at national, regional and continental levels with the aim of shining on the international scale.
On the occasion of International Women’s Rights Day, Bahia El Yahmidi sends a message to all women wishing to integrate fields “reserved” for men where discrimination based on sex is often the law.
” You have to ignore them, you have to work and go towards the objectives without taking into account what people say because sometimes you are affected by what they say. Sometimes you’re here until your reputation is put on the line for nothing, if only to hinder your success. I myself was touched by lies while I was only working, so we must overcome all this, fight and not let it be“, she advises.