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? (2ページ目)

  • text by Hasegawa Masaharu
  • photo by Setsuda Hiroyuki

Football is the most popular sport in Indonesia and has a long history. The Japan men's national team was even unable to beat the Indonesian team until the 1970s. The first Indonesian player to come to Japan was Ricky Yacobi, who played for Matsushita Electric (now Gamba Osaka) in 1988, and now Pratama Arhan of Tokyo Verdy is in his second season in the J2 League. Even in such a popular sport, there are few opportunities for women to continue playing in Indonesia.

この記事に関連する写真を見る"I started playing football when I was seven," continued Zahra. I was an active child who couldn't keep quiet and loved to move around, so I followed my father when he played futsal with his friends. That's when I first saw my father kicking the ball, and once I tried to copy him, I fell in love with it. As I didn't have anyone coaching me, I just kicked it against walls and did keepy-uppy.

"When I was 10 years old, my father saw that I was getting better and talent in me. Then he suggested and encouraged me to join a football academy. There was no academy for girls, so I joined the boys' academy. It wasn't common for girls to play football, so I was looked at a bit negatively, like 'Why are you playing football if you're a girl?

"At first I was on my own and couldn't make any friends, but my parents told me not to worry about others and to work hard and get better. After that period, I played in several international tournaments, scoring goals and winning all of them. Then I was asked for interviews and started to appear in the media because, after all, being the only girl in a men's team is very noticeable.

"In other countries, it was becoming more common for female players to participate. However the situation was different in Indonesia, so it was big news. I think it gave the impression that football can be played by women as well as men. I was 12 years old when I started playing in those tournaments."

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