Premier Skills helping expand football horizons in Egypt for 15 years

Since its inception in 2007, the Premier Skills programme has worked to empower local communities through football. More recently, in 2018, the programme focused on female empowerment and the inclusion of the most vulnerable segments of society, providing opportunities to become better integrated into their local communities, helping to develop their skills for employability and raise their self-esteem through football.

Now as the Premier Skills programme draws to a close in Egypt, we take a look back at its success and the female football legacy it leaves behind.

The Social Stigma

The 1000 girls 1000 dreams project was launched in Egypt in 2018 and saw the Ministry of Youth and Sports support the delivery of the Premier Skills programme. The project aim was to engage 1000 girls, aged 12 to 14, in football training centres in eight governorates in Upper Egypt.

Challenging social stigma around female football was a real hurdle, parents of young girls were fearing that playing football would mean they compromise their cultural norms and traditions, they thought playing football would encourage girls to be lenient with their modest outfits, but they became less resistant when they realised that their daughters are able to play while wearing headscarves and loose uniforms.

Mohamed Salah, Premier Skills Coach Educator, Beni-Suef governorate

The programme did not only encourage girls to play football, it helped them improve their football skills. It also led to some football scouts offering a number of girls opportunities to join professional football clubs.

Mohamed Salah, Premier Skills Coach Educator, Beni-Suef governorate

More than Just Football ... Expanding Horizons

Since the 1000 Girls 1000 dreams initiative launched five years ago, it has been delivered in 18 governorates engaging around 2250 young girls. Through the project the girls have been able to enhance their football skills, become better integrated into their local communities and are able to access opportunities they may not have had otherwise.

I have been practising football for three years. It became my passion, football made a difference in my life in many ways, I am able to meet new people and visit different communities. There were many people against the idea of girls playing football but there is no longer any difference between girls and boys.

Buthaina, 14 years-old female player from Qena governorate

Alongside the main programme objective of delivering football training skills, community coaches realised that the training did much more than that. 

I never imagined I would be that confident in expressing my views to you if it was not for the Premier Skills programme.

The training I received and the exposure I had through engaging with fellow coaches from across the country helped me improve my social and interpersonal skills.

Ahmed Aloqda, one of the core 29 coach educators

Role Models in the Making

Minister of Youth and Sports, Dr Ashraf Sobhi, is extremely pleased with the impact and the success that the Premier Skills programme has had on young girls in Egypt, thanks to the Premier League and British Council’s support. To capitalise on the programme success, Dr Sobhi announced that a women’s football league will be organised for the 1000 Girls, 1000 Dreams initiative and that the Ministry is coordinating with the Egyptian Football Association to nominate the best players to step up and join the women’s national football team.

We all know Mo Salah ... We all love Mo Salah, and we have our very own Fayza Haidar and Passant Mehawed of women we are enormously proud! I was on the pitch today and I could see that we have a lot of young women playing who could be the success stories and role models of the future.

I am confident that the Ministry of Youth and Sports will be able to turn the dreams of more young Egyptian female footballers into a reality and help them to pursue their passion to play football across Egypt by extending this programme to all governorates, cities, and villages. Women’s sports in Egypt are pioneering not only at the regional level but also at the global level.

British Council Egypt Deputy Director, Ruth Cocks, during the closing ceremony of the Premier Skills programme.

Premier Skills draws upon the UK Premier League’s global appeal and expertise in delivering community programmes, alongside the British Council’s track record of delivery and world-class expertise in English.

Spanning over 15 years, Premier Skills has engaged 199,019 young people in Egypt from 19 different governorates, working closely with 4,706 coaches via 29 Premier Skills Coach Educators. The reach of the programme, funded by the Premier League and British Council, was made possible because of the partnership with the Egyptian Ministry of Youth and Sports and other local partners.


Thursday, 23 March, 2023 - 12:55