2023 WOMENS WORLD CUP
Jraïdi and Benzina, two Arab players with ‘a lot’ of history
The forward from Al Ahli Saudi Arabia is the first goal scorer for Morocco in a World Cup. The defender is the first to participate in the World Cup wearing a hijab.
Morocco achieved its first victory in a women’s World Cup against South Korea (0-1) thanks to a header goal by Ibtissam Jraïdi, a goal scorer destined to make her name in football history. The Atlas Lionesses are also the first Arab team to secure three points in a World Cup, and the new forward for Al Ahli Saudi Arabia, a trailblazer in her ethnicity when it comes to scoring.
Despite not reaching 1.70 meters in height, the 30-year-old from Casablanca is a natural finisher, as proven by her goal against the Asian team, diving inside the area to redirect a mid-height cross from El Hah into the net. An experienced footballer who spent most of her career at AS FAR Rabat (Royal Armed Forces Sports Association), Jraïdi has been the top scorer in the Moroccan championship on four occasions, the latest being in 2022, which earned her a move to Saudi Arabia. Now, her name will forever be written in the history of Arab football: she was their first goal scorer and secured a victory for Morocco, keeping their hopes alive in Group H.
The highly anticipated debut of Benzina, the first hijabi
After not participating in the heavy defeat against Germany (6-0), Nouhaila Benzina started as a center-back for Morocco alongside El Chad. She played the full 90 minutes and received a yellow card in the 81st minute in a match that made history as the first player to compete in a World Cup game wearing a hijab, something that FIFA had previously prohibited, citing “health reasons.” However, the rule changed for this major event, celebrated internationally as a significant step towards tolerance and respect for the players’ decision to wear it.