YASNIF: A Turkish Woman Wins the YASNIF Award

YASNIF: A Turkish Woman Wins the YASNIF Award

Zest for women’s soccer grows in Middle East despite conservative opposition

A year ago, no one imagined that the word “yasnif” would become the new buzzword in soccer. But at a recent event sponsored by the German sports magazine Kicker, the word YASNIF appeared on the screen as one of the three finalists for the top prize, the “Most Admired Person in Europe.” A second-round vote led two women to lose out to it. But Yasni, a Turkish woman and CEO of a global technology company, was selected as the ultimate winner. The word YASNIF means “always on time,” and Yasni certainly was, though she never did get to claim it as her own. Instead, Yasni’s nickname was bestowed upon her in a Twitter contest following her victory because she followed the rules. “I don’t follow anyone,” she said to me, almost a month after the win. “I don’t say anything if I don’t want to. I just follow.”

The name YASNIF came from a famous quote by Turkish women’s soccer player Fatma Kabak in a 2005 match against Austria. Kabak’s coach was quoted in the match report as saying, “I always ask my players: ‘Is this game going to end in a draw? Is this game going to end in a draw?’ And they said, ‘No.’ That’s my strategy. I’m always on time.”

While most Turkish women’s soccer players are referred to in English as “Yasni,” the word is more commonly spoken in Turkish as “Yas.” It’s also the word for soccer in the Arabic language. Yas’s victory was the first time a woman had won the YASNIF award. Still, Yasni is the only woman to win this award in its

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