20 June 2017

Tanzania: Female Players to Play On Mt Kilimanjaro

Kilimanjaro — Women aren't holding back in their pursuit of equality in sports. They have consistently broken records and even done things that some men couldn't do in sports.

And that tradition is continuing as a group of women's soccer team players from 20 countries across the world are climbing, Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa, to play a match.

The women, who are attempting to break the world record for 'the highest altitude competitive football game ever played,' arrived in here last week.

They will spend seven to 10 days scaling the 19,330-feet mountain while carrying all the equipment they need with them.

CNN reports that once they reach the summit of the mountain, they will descend to 18,799 feet to play a 90-minute game on Saturday or Sunday.

According to Basing Stoke Observer, the game will be played on a plateau roughly the size of 23 football pitches, with a volcanic ash surface like sand - and two teams, Volcano FC and Glacier FC, will be playing against each other.

This game, which has never been played before, has been organized by Equal Playing Field, an organisation set up by Americans Erin Blakenship and Laura Youngson to raise awareness on the lack of support for women's sports around the world.

With a target of $40,000 (about Sh90 million), the organisation has been raising money through various crowdfunding pages for this mission.

"Playing a football match at this altitude has never been done before. We want to break the record to inspire other women and girls to keep challenging the inequalities in sports," Youngson said when asked why they're organizing the match.

"Sports bring friendship, commitment and leadership as well as strength and health. No girl should miss out on those benefits because of her gender," Youngson added.

Twenty nationalities will be represented in the game, and among them are Egypt, Afghanistan, and the UAE.

At the end of the match, the women are expected to pass on their knowledge to girls through football training clinics in about 17 countries - South Africa, Argentina, Zambia, Mexico, Dubai, Beijing, and Jordan included. This will be the second time for foreign athletes to play a match on Mount Kilimanjaro. Two years ago, a group of international cricketers has set a new world record for the highest-ever match by playing at the top of Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest mountain, in Tanzania.

The teams included former South Africa fast bowler Makhaya Ntini and ex-England spinner Ashley Giles.

The game was played at a height of 5,730m (18,799 ft) in a flat crater just below the summit.

They played 10 overs each of a Twenty20 game before clouds stopped play.

The current record for the world's highest game is 5,165m, played in the Himalayas at Everest base camp in Nepal in 2009.

The "Gorillas" team, led by England women's vice-captain Heather Knight, scored 82-5 to beat Giles' "Rhinos" team, who managed 64-9, the AFP news agency reports.

With Agencies.

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