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Morocco’s Nouhaila Benzina becomes first player to wear Complete hijab at World Cup 2023

Nouhaila Benzina from Morocco made history during Sunday’s match by becoming the first player to wear a hijab at a World Cup. In the crucial match against South Korea, the 25-year-old defender donned a white Islamic headscarf, making her mark at the international tournament.

Although Benzina was an unused substitute in Morocco’s previous match against Germany, she was selected in the starting lineup by manager Reynald Pedros for the game against South Korea. Her presence on the field played a crucial role in Morocco’s 1-0 victory, keeping their hopes alive for qualifying for the knockout stages in their World Cup debut.

Fifa authorized the wearing of head coverings for religious reasons in 2014, and Benzina’s appearance with a hijab marks a significant moment for representation in women’s football.

During the match, Morocco scored their first-ever World Cup goal in the sixth minute, courtesy of striker Ibtissam Jraïdi. Despite being 55 places below South Korea in the world rankings, Morocco displayed an impressive performance to secure the victory.

Benzina, who plays for AS FAR (Association’s Sports of Forces Armed Royal) in Morocco, showcased her defensive skills with crucial interventions during the game. She even had an opportunity to score from a set piece, volleying a snapshot over the bar.

Her participation in the World Cup with a hijab underscores the strides made towards inclusivity and diversity in the sport. Previously, Fifa had banned the hijab on health and safety grounds, but the decision was reversed in 2014, allowing players like Benzina to proudly represent their religious beliefs on the international stage.

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