June 2017 will see two all-women football teams battle it out for 90 minutes on a football pitch built just below the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania in a bid to break the Guinness World Record for the highest altitude football game ever played.
The event, organised by Equal Playing Field, will feature two star-studded teams, with a number of household names from around the world signing up to support the bid, which aims to highlight and support women's sport.
In a major coup for UAE Women's Football Dubai-based players, Danielle Richards and Rajvi Ladha, who represent local Academy IFA Sport, have been selected to join the team. We caught up with the girls shortly after one of their gruelling training sessions to get find out how they're feeling about the challenge ahead.
Rajva described how grateful the girls were to be involved: When we asked about their physical preparations, it was clear that the girls are leaving nothing to chance
"We feel honored and humbled to be part of such a momentous initiative! We believe that this trek can really make an impact on women and girls entering sport, and we feel lucky to be part of it."
Danielle did admit to some apprehension, but clearly felt that the opportunity to prove their capabilities outweighed the nerves:
"We are definitely nervous, but also excited to push ourselves and our limits. This is our chance to prove that women can rise to the same challenges as men, if we are just given equal opportunity."
When we asked about their physical preparations, it was clear that the girls are leaving nothing to chance:
"We are all active in football clubs in our home communities. In addition to the training this provides, we are following an altitude training plan that includes High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), weights, and steady state cardio."
Jessica Prelle, Head of girls & womens football at IFA, says she and her team are looking forward to contributing to the Equal Playing Field Efforts.
"We're very excited to partner up with EPF to further encourage and support girls and womens sport in the region and worldwide.
At IFA we have a strong focus and passion to develop female football and offer programs for all ages where girls and women can join, no matter what age, nationality, or level. By offering a fun but safe environment as well as a number of great pathways, girls can develop and improve in their own time.
Initiatives like EPF are a welcome development for sportswomen in the region – we are still fighting stereotyping in football, especially in the Middle East and it is time to break down these barriers."
IFA will host the EPF Ladies Cup on May 19 which will include players from around the region and provide visibility to the initiative. It will also host a clinic after the climb in which the UAE EPF team can work with girls to improve not only their soccer skill but also provide them with mentorship and positive role models.
For more information on the EPF Ladies Cup, contact Jessica Prelle on firstname.lastname@example.org
To find out more about the EPF initiative, head over to www.equalplayingfield.com.