While the local playing field is the traditional location for a kickabout, not many people consider a game on top of one of the world’s highest mountains.
But one Basingstoke woman is set for the experience of a lifetime as she joins up with a team of people for a match near the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.
Katie Donegan, 33, has signed up to the Equal Playing Field initiative, which is staging the match this June to raise awareness for the lack of support around the world for women’s sport.
No-one has ever played football on top of a mountain before, so they will also be breaking the Guinness World Record for the highest altitude game in the process.
“I had a look at the website and thought it was right up my street, climbing a mountain and playing a game of football,” said Katie, who also plays for Basingstoke Town Ladies FC.
“I’ve played football since I was little and I love doing crazy new things and doing it with cool people as well, it’s going to be women from all round the world.
“A lot of women and girls don’t play sport into adulthood, and this is an opportunity to be role models for all those women and say ‘yes you can carry on playing sport and doing things’.”
Katie and the other players will have to climb the 5,895m (19,330ft) tall mountain, lugging the goalposts, footballs and other equipment they need with them.
Near the top of Kilimanjaro is a plateau roughly the size of 23 football pitches where they will play the match, on a volcanic ash surface similar to sand.
While most climbers take six days to tackle the mountain the two teams will instead do it in eight to try and better counter the effects of altitude sickness.
Katie added: “When it said they would be playing on the side of the mountain, I thought you’d have to be really careful not to lose the ball down the side!
“Apparently it’s a massive area and it’s all volcanic ash so it would be like playing on the beach, which is quite tough on the legs.
“I’ve been doing lots of long walks around Basingstoke and I live in Skyline Plaza which is 19 floors, so I’ve been climbing all the way to the top as training.”
Equal Playing Field was set up by co-founders Erin Blankenship and Laura Youngson to highlight inequalities faced by women in sport.
Statistics published by the group say that 1.8million fewer women are active each month in the UK than men, with a similar problem in the USA.
Following the challenge the players will be helping to run football clinics for women and girls in several countries.
Erin said: “Sport has this capacity to transcend discrimination like little else.
“I’ve loved and played football as long as I can remember and I wanted this project to reflect the love of the game above all else.
“So as much as I revel in an opportunity to set a world record in a game I love more than almost anything and around a cause I deeply believe in, it was important that we create tangible impact as well.”