Forced to choose between your faith and your career is a hurdle no one wants to go through. But that was the situation of Muslim footballers before FIFA lifted the ban on hijabs in 2014.
Now, Anatu Sadat has made history by becoming the first Ghanaian female footballer to wear a hijab in a league game.
She wore the hijab in a league game against Ampem Darkoa Ladies and after that, the Ghana Football Association (GFA) released a statement allowing females to now wear hijabs during league games.
Anatu Sadat, started playing football at a tender age and she always heard comments about her not covering her head on the pitch due to her religion. It was something she took personal and so when the opportunity came for her to wear the hijab, she jumped on it.
“I’m a Muslim so it’s custom for a lady to have the hijab on because it’s part of the beliefs of Islam. I’m proud and I’ve always wanted to do that so when the opportunity came I just grabbed it” she told 3Sports.
In her very first Ghana Women’s Premier League game for Northern Ladies FC, she went viral for her looks rather than her contribution to the game, something she found perplexing.
“At the beginning of the season, I didn’t wear it because it was not available and comments came in from around the world talking about how beautiful I am without mentioning how I performed during the game and I was not happy about that,” she told 3sports.
Few weeks later, she was in the spotlight again but for a totally different reason. She had given Ghanaians the rare sight of a footballer wearing the hijab on the pitch and that was something she had always wanted to do although she had fear pulling her back.
“I was scared. There was this fear in me because I’ve not seen any footballer wear it in Ghana because I knew FIFA had banned the wearing of hijab some years back and amended the rule in 2014. Something was pulling me back but I had to do it” she said.
She is the first beneficiary of the Maxwell Woledzi project, which aims at providing apparels to Muslim footballers who are willing to honour their faith whilst playing football.
Anatu hopes her story will inspire other Muslim footballers.
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