The 2019 football season was memorable for Canterbury & Districts Soccer Football Association’s (CDSFA) Punchbowl United FC which saw three out of their four competitive female teams that were predominantly made up of Muslim females make finals football.
In the past, Muslim female participants have faced cultural barriers when it came to playing sport.
Historically, females have been discouraged to play football as it was deemed a sport only for males to play.
With inclusivity spreading throughout Australian football, clubs are seeing the successes of supporting cultural diversity.
This can be transpired through Punchbowl United FC’s success of Muslim female players within the club.
Recently established in 2017, Punchbowl United FC are making waves in the football community by breaking down these cultural barriers.
The three female teams from Punchbowl United FC who made finals football include the under 14’s girls, 16’s girls and Punchbowl’s All Age Women’s side. Across these three teams the females playing were predominantly Muslim. Many of these participants were second or third generation children and for most it was their first-time playing football.
The under 14’s had a terrific season coming fourth and making the semi-finals but losing in penalties.
The under 16’s had a remarkable season going undefeated throughout the whole season only to lose in the grand final 3-2.
Alternatively, the All Age Women had a rough start to the season. Yet, the team turned their season around making the grand final only to sadly lose in penalties.
Punchbowl United President Natasha Hill, was proud to see the blossoming diversity and how successful the club’s female teams were given it was their first-time playing football for many of them.
“Many teams were shocked about the success of our girls due to many of them being Muslim. However, the girls received family support every week, progressing all the way to the finals which created a strong environment for the girls which helped throughout the season.
“Although, the girls did not win their grand finals.
“It was the surprising success and support the team received throughout the season which is a prime example of the benefits of cultural diversity and the ability to make football inclusive.”
Football continues to change for the better and with football clubs such as Punchbowl United FC it is easy to see why.
With the club continuously breaking down cultural barriers and capturing the benefits of inclusiveness, watch out for the rise of Punchbowl United FC!
Written by Adrian Talevski