Girls in power during ‘Soccer Sisters Cup’ street football tournament: “Football is no longer a boys’ sport” | Antwerp
AntwerpSaturday the ‘Soccer Sisters Cup’ took place in SPRK in Park Spoor Noord, Flanders’ very first street football tournament where only girls kill the pannas. After three preliminary rounds, the finalist duos will compete for first place in the national final of the tournament. “You can just be yourself and have fun playing street football, that’s what’s so great about it.”
The Soccer Sisters Cup is the result of the online fiction series PANNA (can be viewed on GoPlay.be) in which four girls claim their place within the Antwerp street football scene – typically dominated by boys. In the fictional series, we follow Afi, Tina, Mary and Zizou who train together for a street football tournament. With the Soccer Sisters Cup, Telenet also wants to encourage girls with a love for soccer in real life to follow their passion.
First, a Panna Bootcamp was held, where girls between 12 and 19 years old could test their street football skills under the guidance of top coaches such as Martijn Debbaut, Belgian champion in freestyle street football. This was followed by a meet & greet with the actresses from the Panna series: Nora Dari, known from Wtfock, Nadège Iris Bibo Tansia, Renee Vaerewijck and Maïmouna Badjie. Then it was time for the long-awaited final in which the finalists had a chance to experience the K Gent Ladies and the RSC Anderlecht Women.
“Street football makes football very accessible”, says Olivier Goris, Lead Sports at Telenet Group. “No registration fee or expensive sportswear is required. Street football is an extension springboard for talent. In this way, squares will eventually become toppers who then continue to grow. Yet it is clear that there are no barriers for girls to enter the ‘men’s world’ of the soccer field. With the tournament, the sports channel wants to make street football attractive to girls and encourage female players to pursue their passion.”
The matches – two against two – last three minutes. You score by scoring regular goals (one point) and panna goals (two points). You score the latter by kicking the ball through the legs of your exercises. From those preliminary rounds, 12 duos emerged who proved themselves during the final in Antwerp.
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One of those duos was Soraya (17) and Paidie (17), two friends from Antwerp. “It is the first time that such a street football tournament is organized in Antwerp, so we certainly wanted to participate”, says Soraya. “We are written with street football, we already played football on the squares when we were little, although we now also play at a football club”, Paidie.
Nel (15) and Athina (15) from Mechelen also participated. “I had seen the PANNA series, and I was immediately hooked on street football,” says Nel. “We play together at a football club in Kontich, but I had never played panna or street football before. Football has long ceased to be a boys sport: often design us when we have to play against, but in the end we usually win.” “You can just be yourself and have fun with street football, that’s what’s so nice about it,” Athina adds.
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