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Qatar WNT has not played since 2014: ‘Something backfired’

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The Qatar women's national team practices in March 2014. (Ulli Bünger/Getty Images)

The Qatar women’s national team featured in the country’s bid for the 2022 men’s World Cup but has not played a game since 2014, the New York Times reported.

Founded in 2009, the squad played its first game in 2010, just before FIFA announced Qatar as the host of the 2022 World Cup. In its bid for the tournament, Qatar said it would commit to the “promotion of women’s football, including creation of special facilities.”

Yet the women’s national team last played an official match in April 2014 at the West Asian Football Federation Women’s Championship. It does not feature in the FIFA women’s ranking or on the Qatar Football Association website.

When asked by the New York Times about whether Qatar has followed through on its commitment to women’s football, FIFA responded: “We do not comment on the status of football development in individual countries or the situation of specific member associations.”

Qatar has slated one of its World Cup stadiums for women’s soccer, and several players from the national team visited New York City and San Francisco earlier this year.

Abeer Ahmed al-Kuwari, the manager of the team, is moving the women’s national team under the umbrella of the Qatar Football Association, she told the New York Times. She has requested a new coach, training staff and more.

But for now, the women’s national team is stuck in a holding pattern, several players told the New York Times.

“We took time off to train, to play only friendlies and stay out of the media,” team captain Suaad Salim al-Hashimi said. “But I think something backfired, something happened that they stopped everything.”

Hagar Nader Nessim Aziz Saleh, another player on the team, is banking on the men’s World Cup to serve as a rising tide for all football in the country.

“We are waiting for the legacy of the World Cup to bring us up,” she said. “That’s our only hope.”