"There are a lot of people [in Lebanon] who think that football is not for women and won't let their daughters play," said GFA's Salim Assaf. "It's so frustrating."
Only Jordan's team, Orthodox, administered by the Christian Orthodox Church, said it had support from the authorities. Prince Ali Bin al-Hussein, a member of FIFA's executive committee, has ensured money is pumped into the women's game, and last year persuaded FIFA to overturn a ban imposed in 2007 on the wearing of the hijab by female players.
Along with official intransigence comes heavy social pressure. For most, marriage is a barrier to playing. "The government is not the problem, the family is the problem," said Tunisian striker Wafa Ashani. "There are very few men who would agree to his wife playing sport. When you marry, it's finished with soccer."
"We get bad comments all the time, they say don't play football, it is not for women, you will get big legs, you won't find a guy," said Lebanese midfielder Karen Haddad, 25. "My boyfriend said ‘It's me or football.' I could only give him one answer. For me football is a passion."
And it's not just soccer. The World Economic Forum's annual Global Gender Gap report places Arab states near the bottom of the equality league. Out of 135 states monitored, Jordan came in at 121, Lebanon at 122, Egypt ranked 126, and Saudi Arabia had its place near the bottom at 131. Libya, Palestine, and Tunisia were not included.
Getting to the root of male opposition to female soccer -- indeed to all female sport -- in the Middle East is not easy. Claims that it is not "Islamic" are nonsense, say the players, who note there's nothing in the Quran banning women from sports, and indeed the book recounts Mohammed running races with his wife Aisha.
In her provocative essay for Foreign Policy, Mona Eltahawy, an Egyptian-American columnist, argues that opposition to women's rights is lodged deep in the male psyche, centered on the fear of many men about losing control of their women.
"The Islamist hatred of women burns brightly across the region -- now more than ever," she wrote. "Attempts to control by such regimes often stem from the suspicion that without it, a woman is just a few degrees short of sexual insatiability."