Afghan Girls Footballers Prepare in Australia After Fleeing Taliban Rule


Eight months after fleeing Kabul because the Taliban swept to energy in Afghanistan, Farida trains at a suburban Melbourne pitch, dreaming of at some point enjoying soccer for her nation whereas lamenting the destiny of fellow girls gamers again house.

The 20-year-old striker was considered one of 77 Afghan athletes, members of the family and officers evacuated from Afghanistan final 12 months by the Australian authorities after lobbying by distinguished figures within the sporting world.

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A number of the evacuees have left Australia and located asylum in different nations, however greater than 30 girls footballers stay in Melbourne, rebuilding their lives with the help of one of many nation’s high skilled golf equipment.

“We’re in a safe place and everyone seems to be very nice,” Kabul native Farida advised Reuters at coaching along with her Afghan teammates on Wednesday. “However in Afghanistan, after the Taliban took management, every thing has been turned the wrong way up.”

Women and girls’s sport has been crushed by the Taliban authorities’s hardline insurance policies.

Males have continued to play sport at group and elite stage within the nation however girls are successfully confined to their houses by a combination of regulation and intimidation.

The Taliban final week banned girls from showing in public with faces uncovered, having already ordered limits on their motion with out a male chaperone.

The Afghan footballers in Melbourne get pleasure from Australia’s freedoms and don’t hesitate to talk out towards the Taliban.

However Melbourne Victory, who’re sponsoring their soccer programme, ask them to not share their surnames for worry of potential reprisals to households again house.

“There aren’t any girls’s rights in Afghanistan,” mentioned Farida, who’s learning at a neighborhood college and located work at a neighborhood telecommunications agency.

“Girls athletes are caught of their houses. I get textual content messages from them saying they wish to get out of Afghanistan.”

Melbourne Victory, four-times champions in Australia’s top-flight A-League, have proven their dedication to the squad by drafting of their profitable skilled girls’s coach Jeff Hopkins to coach them whereas offering help employees and physiotherapists.

The gamers, of various age and technical skill, are actually competing in a neighborhood newbie league whereas usually juggling work, research and English classes.

“We wish to make them the very best group they are often,” Victory’s Director of Soccer John Didulica advised Reuters.

“With that, folks shall be impressed by their braveness, their dedication and their standing as much as the ideology of the Taliban as girls who’re asserting themselves on the sporting area.”

Gamers joked about Australian slang earlier than they began coaching, and there was loads of good-natured banter throughout drills on a foggy evening.

Some wore head coverings however most simply wore normal soccer package.


Gamers mentioned coaching was a welcome distraction from homesickness and worries about household. There have been restricted seats out there on the airplane that flew them out of Kabul, that means agonising decisions and family members left behind.

Farida was separated from household on the airport and misplaced her suitcase within the confusion.

She has no relations in Melbourne however lives with considered one of her group mates.

Fellow striker Shamsia, from Afghanistan’s northern province of Baghlan, described herself as “in shock” after arriving in Australia after transit by Dubai.

“All the things was arduous for me,” the 21-year-old advised Reuters.

“Then we began soccer coaching and I noticed the ladies two or thrice per week, it bought simpler each time.”

As soon as coaching with a nationwide youth squad, Shamsia was getting ready to a world debut in Tajikistan nevertheless it was scuppered by the Taliban takeover.

She mentioned her little sister again house was in all probability a extra gifted footballer than her however had little hope of enjoying.

That made representing Afghanistan as a group in Melbourne all of the extra necessary.

“We wish to present to the world that girls of Afghanistan are sturdy, and that we received’t cease,” she mentioned.

”We are going to hold combating.”

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