How Afghanistan women’s football teammade it to Australia; and her next challenge
When I heard that the Afghan women’s team had arrived in Australia for the Futsal World Cup, I leapt at the chance to meet them. I wanted to go and see how they were getting on and if it would be possible to come and visit them in Australia before the competition began.
I asked my wife what we should do and she said, “I’ve never been to Australia and I’ve never been to Futsal World Cup either but it would be good to go and see how good they are.”
I thought, “Well, it’s a long way, you might not have a car, but it would be good to see them and find out how they are getting on.” So we decided to go.
I met the team in Melbourne for the first time and we got a quick lesson on the history of the organisation which is now the World Federation of Association Football (WAFF).
I also got to find out more about how the Afghan women are getting on, both as a country and as a team and how they have managed to get to the very first World Cup.
The first World Cup
Futsal was invented in 1971 and it’s a game that is now growing in popularity in many parts of the world. According to the United Nation’s International Women’s Day, in 2014 only 5 per cent of professional football was women’s football, but that number is steadily rising – and even more so in the last few years.
I am sure that the success of the Afghan women’s team in the World Cup has something to do with the success of the sport in the country and the efforts of many women throughout the world who have come forward and supported this Afghan women’s team.
The Afghanistan women went into the World Cup as the first team of their own. When it was announced that the team would be going to the World Cup, the country’s president, Abdul Rashid Dostum, said: “The Afghan team is the first in our history to represent and play in the World Cup. We hope that Afghanistan will be able to stand tall and earn world respect”.
He also made a statement: “Today we are proud to have the largest team in the world and we are looking forward to winning the World Cup for our country”.
When the team arrived in Melbourne they were the first women’s