"Representation is key"
Morocco may have exited the 2023 Women’s World Cup but defender Nouhaila Benzina etched her name in history during the tournament.
She became a pioneer as the first hijabi athlete to grace a World Cup.
Her image resonated throughout the world and sparked a wider conversation about hijabi players in football.
Many women who wear hijabs aren’t allowed to participate in the sport.
For example, France and its football federation bar hijabi women from embracing the sport they love.
If Morocco had played their match on French soil, Benzina’s very participation while donning her headwear would have been denied.
This prejudice underscores the urgent need for change.
Morocco’s captivating performances throughout this summer’s championship have allowed their players to express themselves and represent millions of hijabis across the world.
These remarkable players have demonstrated a template for how federations and clubs should honour different faiths, cultures, and identities.
And now, the video games company EA have taken this situation into their own hands.
Known for their sporting games, EA have introduced a new trailblazing feature to FIFA 23.
They have included Nouhaila Benzina and her hijab as part of their new update.
This is the first known representation of the hijab in the football game and many gamers and women have shown their excitement for EA championing such decisions.
One person commented on the matter saying:
“This is amazing. People always forget how important things like this is.”
Troy Condor also said on Instagram: “Representation is key”, whilst Veronica Tile said “Great news”.
It’s fair to say that this historic feat is key all football players and all gamers who want to see themselves in video games.
Whilst the Moroccan defender has ignited this monumental change, it speaks volumes for those of South Asian descent too.
It’s no secret that except for cricket games, no attention is placed upon South Asia in other sporting games.
Therefore, could this update provide EA with more determination to represent more cultures and societies?
Undoubtedly, hijabi footballers will now feature in EA FC 24 – the rebranded version of the FIFA games.
And, it could open up a whole new audience for the company, catering to more identities and beliefs.
What do you think of the new update?