Bend it like Beckham & score like Salah

Who do you picture when you imagine a great football player? Perhaps Lionel Messi - or Mohamed Salah? But why not a young Saudi lady wearing a hijab?

Football might have been all about typical stereotypes once. But not anymore, and certainly not at DHL.

Colleagues from many of the company’s operations across the globe regularly meet up after work to play football together. It’s a great way to let off steam and make friends with teammates outside the office setting.

At DHL Express in the Middle East, this is particularly interesting. Why? Because, in an area generally thought to have a long way to go in terms of gender equality, it’s the women’s teams which are truly thriving.

In fact, of the 35 teams that competed at a recent regional competition, ten were made up of women. The company has held these matches for eight years now and interest and participation from female teams is growing year on year –including this year which featured debut teams, Algeria and Saudi Arabia.

After work football clubs are oftentimes a daunting setting, like a figurative meeting room which women have not dared to break into – a place where men can laugh and joke and network. But these women are refusing the idea that sport is a men’s-only game – and taking the opportunity to challenge themselves, not only with their fitness and fancy footwork, but also in their abilities to communicate, build relationships and make new connections, all of which trickles into the workplace.

The tournament took place on a beautiful sunny day in Dubai and was full of fantastic plays and some incredible goals, as well as an abundance of good team spirit and fan support. The thrilling women’s final was between Kuwait and Egypt, with Egypt winning the title for the second consecutive year.

Delivered. spoke to the captains of teams from Syria, Iran, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Egypt to find out more about what competing meant for them. — Giorgia Rose


Egypt (Winners for the second consecutive year)


Kuwait (Runners-up)


Saudi Arabia





Published: January 2019

Images: Razan AlBuhamad; DHL