RAYANE MOUSSALLEM & VICTOR PEREIRA / AIPS YR in AMMAN: With one day to go until the opening ceremony of the FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup in Amman, the Jordanian capital, the local organizing committee has set up a special area for fans in the King Hussein Park to watch and follow all the tournament’s games between September 30 and October 21s where they will officially be the tournament’s ‘12th player’.
The ceremony is on this Friday but the infectious atmosphere of the tournament has already spread.

Mayor of Amman Mr Akl Baltaji, chairman of the local organizing committee, Salaheddine Sabra and FIFA representative Anastasia Tsichlas were among the speakers before the ceremonial cutting of the tape announcing the opening of the Fan Zone.

Baltaji said: “Each one of us is the 12th player and we are shortly flagging a moto here in Amman, a campaign saying I am one of nine million, each Jordanian will say: I am one of nine million.

“So we are not only the 12th player, we are nine million behind our team welcoming the ladies that have come from near and far because Jordan is safe, Jordan is our playground.”

For her part, FIFA’s Tsichlas emphasized on the importance of the growing women’s role in football “This competition will show Jordan’s great work in growing women’s football and the game as well as providing inspiration and encouragement to the rest of the region to do the same.

She said: “Most importantly this tournament will provide opportunities because we are here to reaffirm loud and clear that football is for everyone; girls and women have the right to play football, break down barriers and build a better future for everyone.”

Sabra shed the light on the cooperation between the LOC and FIFA in the past years which made the dream of hosting such a tournament in the Middle East region a reality.

The official song entitled “Jordan Our Playground” has brought together the Lebanese woman star Carole Samaha and the Jordanian star Hussein el Selman who were present at the Fan Zone opening and will be singing the song at the Opening Ceremony.

Walking throughout the Fan Zone, Aseela the Arabian Oryx, the mascot of the FIFA u17 Women’s World Cup, enjoyed herself and entertained all those present, taking pictures with everyone and spreading exciting energy. Aseela represents the strength of the woman in the Hashemite homeland who overcame all the obstacles since the dawn of time.

In another corner, young female players enjoyed themselves playing football. They represent the team of Madaba region and all of them share the same dream, the same goal; to become professional players one day and represent Jordan in the best possible way.

The Fan Zone that fits hundreds of fans will be open to public every day from 6:00pm until 10:00pm.