Abu Dhabi-based airline and Manchester City sponsor Etihad has flown four aspiring young female footballers from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to Manchester after an invitation from England Lionesses star Chloe Kelly and her teammates.
The airline flew the girls, who all attend City Football Schools in the UAE, to Manchester where there met with Chloe along with teammates Lauren Hemp and Hayley Raso.
Georgia Bainbridge, City Football Schools Coach, said, “When we were told about the surprise and asked to put forward four girls, Madiyah, Meriel, Sura and Zarah immediately sprung to mind. They have demonstrated fantastic skills and potential, but their attitude to training is outstanding and something all the coaches at City Football Schools in the UAE really admire.
“We want to continue to inspire our female players and promote women’s football as much as we can in the UAE which has been helped massively following the Women’s Euros and Chloe Kelly’s winning goal. She’s a player the girls admire and hope one day to emulate so having the chance to watch her and the rest of the team train before meeting them was incredible.”
As well as meeting the stars, Madiyah, 12, Meriel and Sura, both 11, and Zarah, 9 also got to lead Manchester City out of the tunnel for the sell-out match against Womens Super League rivals Arsenal.
Amina Taher, Vice President Brand, Marketing and Sponsorships from Etihad Airways, said: “The UAE places a strong emphasis on elevating the role of women in society and as the national airline we are fully engaged with this mission. We’re proud to work with our long-standing partners City Football Group to champion the inclusion and empowerment of young women ahead of this year’s International Women’s Day.
“It was an honour to fly Madiyah, Meriel, Sura and Zarah to Manchester to visit the Etihad Stadium and meet their Manchester City heroes.”