31 Jan Masakåda accepts invitation to compete in West Asia tourney in Saudi Arabia
“We were so excited to get such a generous invitation from WAFF to compete in their championship tournament,” said Kristin Thompson, Head Coach of the Guam Women’s National Team. “The Masakåda had a great showing in the EAFF (E-1 Football Championship Women’s Competition) last November and people are starting to notice. The players are excited to ride the momentum from the last tournament into this one. They are working hard and preparing for a new adventure and a new platform to learn and showcase their talents, and most importantly represent their island at the highest level.
“Women’s football is growing so fast in West Asia and it is exciting for us to receive an invitation to be a part of this history in the region. It will definitely be a different style of football than we are used to here in East Asia; on all levels of tactics and game management, it will be a good challenge for us,” Thompson added.
Guam will join host country Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, Palestine, Iraq, Lebanon, and Nepal in the 2024 edition of the tournament. Nepal is another invited team to the tournament from outside the West Asia region.
According to correspondence from WAFF, the official draw of the tournament will be held Feb. 5 and will be available to watch via Live Stream on WAFF’s official YouTube channel, @WAFFootball
The tournament format will include two groups for four, playing round-robin matches beginning Feb. 19. The top two teams from each group will move on to the tournament playoff, with the winners from the semifinal playoff round moving on to the championship match, set to be played Feb. 29.
Thompson will be officially making her final selection closer to tournament dates.
“I’m so thrilled to have this opportunity for the team to experience this different style of play and also to travel and compete in a different region,” Thompson said. “The more high-level matches these players can get, the better and the more areas of the game they are exposed to, the better. The relationship built between the federations is evident and we are ready to support each other in women’s football, as well as to challenge and push each other to further lift the level of women’s football in the continent and around the world.”
The WAFF Women’s Championship was first held in 2005. Jordan has won five out of eight tournaments that have held since its first-ever edition. Jordan is the top-ranked team in the tournament at No. 74 in the Coca-Cola FIFA Women’s World Ranking. The country’s most-capped and active player, Maysa Jbarah, is among the top eight in the world in international goals scored, with 124 in 130 matches, according to a July 23, 2023 listing published on the Olympic Games Web site.
Guam is the second-highest ranked in the tournament at No. 93, followed by Nepal at No. 105. Lebanon is ranked at No. 134, Palestine at No. 136, and Syria at No. 160.
Saudi Arabia created its first-ever women’s national team in late 2021 and was ranked for the first time on Mar. 24, 2023 at No. 171. The team is currently ranked at No. 175. Iraq’s team is currently unranked by FIFA, according to the FIFA Web site.