Why did Zahra Muzdalifah, a very popular female footballer in her home country of Indonesia with 900,000 followers on Instagram, come to Japan and play in the WE League?

  • text by Hasegawa Masaharu
  • photo by Setsuda Hiroyuki

With Nadeshiko Japan's success at the FIFA Women's World Cup still fresh in our minds, the WE League has begun its new season. The WE League stands for "Women Empowerment League", and it is actively welcoming players from overseas, especially across South East Asia in its quest to be the most active women's community in the world. In the 2023-24 season, Mynavi Sendai Ladies and AC Nagano Parceiro Ladies each acquired new players from Thailand, while Cerezo Osaka Yanmar Ladies, who joined the league this season, acquired new players from Indonesia.

この記事に関連する写真を見るZahra Muzdalifah, 22, came to Osaka to play for Cerezo. Since the official presentation of the new Cerezo Osaka Yanmar Ladies team, she has been mentioned in the Japanese sports press and is beginning to attract attention for her gorgeous appearance and bright, open character.

And it's no wonder. Zahra is such a well-loved character that if she were not a footballer now, she might have succeeded as an entertainer in her native Indonesia. With over 900,000 followers on Instagram, she is a national sporting icon in Indonesia.

"I do Instagram because it's fun for me!" said Zahra. "I used to be in the entertainment industry, modeling and appearing in commercials, and I like social networking myself. I think it would be better if people could see me being active and get the impression that women can be footballers too."

For the cheerful Zahra, it wasn't easy to join Cerezo Osaka. Once the subject of football came up, she showed her hard-working, competitive side.

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