Author: Carol

Women’s football in Afghanistan

Women's football in Afghanistan

Nadia Nadim on women’s football in Afghanistan one year on from Taliban takeover

The International Women Football Association (IWF) began its second year here in Afghanistan’s second largest city of Kabul, as an answer to the call for action by the international community against the scourge of violence against women.

The country’s first women’s football match was played here on Sunday. It was a match between the two local teams, Kabul and Kabul City, and their fans. Kabul City, at that time, had not played in a regular international football competition since the Taliban came to power.

After the match, Nadia Nadim, in her native Arabic, addressed the journalists, saying: “For the first time in history, there are professional football matches in Afghanistan. You are hearing about it, but you don’t really know what is going on. Here, all of the action is on the football field.”

Nadim is in her early forties, and holds the rank of lieutenant colonel in the Afghan air force. She was speaking in her first English interview in almost a year, and is one of two women in the Afghan military – the other is a doctor.

“Women’s football is not on the same level as women’s basketball. It is not on the same level as women’s volleyball. We have to make our football our business and to achieve our goal to have women in the Afghan football, we have to use the sport which will be most useful in the future,” she said.

At the end of her address, Nadim, who played football for Kabul University last year, handed me a programme with eight goals scored by female players in the past few football seasons.

“That is a positive sign, but we still have a long way to go to achieve the required conditions for women to play football in Afghanistan. We have to change the mindset of the Afghan footballers. We have to change the attitude of the Afghan football officials. And we have to talk with the Afghan authorities and authorities throughout the world to encourage football. But we have to win the game first.”

“The first step is that we have to have football in Afghanistan. Football is very useful for women. It is beneficial to children. I am a mother, but I do not want to kill my daughter before becoming a mother also. Women can come up to our level and take on the boys’ positions. We can change the playing field and we can play on a par with the men

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