"I play football, and you?" is the slogan of the Football Association of Albania's (FShF) marketing campaign for women's football – and the answer is increasingly becoming "yes".
The last three years have witnessed an impressive growth in the female game in Albania, with national competitions (league and cup) established and the number of players rising to such an extent that there are now two national squads – a senior side and an Under-19 team.
Indeed after just a few friendly matches, a handful of competitive outings and some training sessions, the Albania women's team have already taken a notable step forward: they progressed to the qualifying group stage for the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup after finishing second in their preliminary round mini-tournament.
The FShF has made women's football's development a priority and besides setting up new teams – especially in the youth sector – much work has been done to encourage schoolgirls to take up the sport. Hence the "I play football, and you?" initiative which will continue through 2013. Posters have been put on display in stadiums (there is one on a billboard outside the national stadium) and schools, and the campaign will be taken to cities beyond the capital Tirana to spread the word far and wide.
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