Bosnia is buzzing over a women’s football match

Remarkable events in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) this past week where the country seems to have woken up to the womens national football team and the European Championship qualifier match against England today (12 April).

A match that is usually watched by less than a hundred supporters will tonight attract up to 4000 fans including music and film celebrities, the former Prime Minister of the country, members of the parliament, and ambassadors from the UK, the United States and the Council of Europe.

The anticipation has been created by a media and community engagement campaign led by the BiH FA and developed by the Ebbe Comms agency and the Fare network.

The campaign has used social media endorsements from leading men's players such as Roma striker Edin Dzeko and national cultural figures under the hashtag #idemnautakmicu. A media training day on how to report women's football that set a target of at least 50 mainstream media stories about women's football and a community engagement initiative that led to 600 school kids attending a training session of the team last Friday have also been part of the plan along with the hiring of three coaches of fans who will travel to the host stadium in Zenica from the capital city Sarajevo.

Coach Samira Hurrem was quoted by the leading BiH daily newspaper on its front page today as saying, "The golden team was defeated 1-0 in England which is a great result considering the opponents. Our team has already shown that they can confront the world's strongest, we will be relying on support from the fans to try and surprise them with a goal or two."

"As importantly this match had focused attention on the psycho-physical development of young people through sport, gender equality in football and why sport is important for the health and social skills of young girls. One of our goals is to develop long term support for this and other women's teams."

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