Watch: Four young UAE footballers become mascots for Women's Super League in Manchester

The players enjoy behind-the-scenes access to Manchester City Women’s final training session before the match with Arsenal

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Published: Tue 7 Mar 2023, 3:58 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Mar 2023, 7:43 PM

The sky is the limit for four aspiring female footballers from the UAE after an invitation from Manchester City Women turned into the trip of a lifetime thanks to Etihad Airways.

For Madiyah, 12, Meriel and Sura, both 11, and Zarah, 9, who all attend City Football Schools in the UAE, mid-week coaching in Abu Dhabi typically ends with a tactical de-brief.

In a video released to celebrate International Women’s Day, the girls are seen receiving a personal message from England Lionesses, Chloe Kelly and Lauren Hemp, and Australia’s Hayley Raso, in which they EW invited to join them as Manchester City match day mascots for the Women’s Super League fixture against Arsenal at the Academy Stadium on the Etihad Campus in Manchester.

Unknown to the girls, Etihad Airways had booked the players, their parents and coaches onto an eight-hour flight from Abu Dhabi International Airport to Manchester.

As part of the experience, the young players got to enjoy behind-the-scenes access to Manchester City Women’s final training session before the match and also have photos and signatures with some of their role models from the club.

Georgia Bainbridge, City Football Schools Coach, said, “When we were told about the surprise and asked to put forward four girls, Madiyah, Meriel, Sura and Zarah immediately sprung to mind. They have demonstrated fantastic skills and potential, but their attitude to training is outstanding and something all the coaches at City Football Schools in the UAE really admire.

“We want to continue to inspire our female players and promote women’s football as much as we can in the UAE which has been helped massively following the Women’s Euros and Chloe Kelly’s winning goal. She’s a player the girls admire and hope one day to emulate so having the chance to watch her and the rest of the team train before meeting them was incredible.”

Before leading out the team as match day mascots in front of a sell-out crowd, the girls also toured the Etihad Stadium and the home dressing room, where screams could be heard around Manchester as their personalised match day shirts took pride of place.

Amina Taher, Vice-President Brand, Marketing and Sponsorships from Etihad Airways, said: “The UAE places a strong emphasis on elevating the role of women in society and as the national airline we are fully engaged with this mission."

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