49 min

Risking their lives for football: Afghanistan's women's national team Heroes & Humans of Football

    • Soccer

The Afghan women’s national team doesn’t exist – not according to FIFA, anyway. The Taliban banned women's football when they took control of Afghanistan in 2021, forcing the team to flee the country for fear of their lives. But FIFA now refuses to recognise the team in exile, allowing the Taliban to continue their gender apartheid. Today, the team is fighting for FIFA recognition and their place in football. Living in exile and risking their lives to play football, the Afghan women's players are determined to return to the international game.
Mehreen and Simon talk to Khalida Popal, the woman who defied the country's misogynistic norms to set up the national team. She became the first female captain, coach, and executive in Afghanistan's history. This is a story of a team’s courage and comradery in the face of death threats and sexual assaults.

To support the Afghan women's team in their fight for recognition, you can sign this petition and follow Khalida Popal on LinkedIn: 
https://www.change.org/p/fifacom-standwithafghanwomen-recognise-afghanistan-women-s-national-football-team-in-exile-follow-alivekicking23
https://www.linkedin.com/in/khalida-popal-64a29176?originalSubdomain=dk

Timestamps:
00:00:02 - Introduction to the episode about Afghanistan's women's football team
00:03:47 - Khalida Popal joins to discuss founding the team
00:03:55 - Growing up in Afghanistan before the Taliban
00:05:09 - Early exposure to football in Afghanistan 
00:06:09 - Returning to Afghanistan after 2001 and facing resistance to women playing football
00:08:56 - Setting up a girls' football team at school despite challenges
00:12:51 - Men discover and threaten the girls playing football
00:14:57 - Story of a teammate forced to stop playing by her family
00:18:06 - Establishing the Afghan women's national team
00:21:07 - Negotiating with the Afghan Football Federation for recognition
00:25:16 - Difficulties of managing the national team and facing abuse
00:30:10 - Fleeing Afghanistan due to death threats
00:33:56 - Evacuating players as Taliban returned to power in 2021
00:41:29 - Current players describe obstacles they faced playing in Afghanistan
00:43:01 - Players' experiences when Taliban took over in 2021
00:45:04 - Campaign for FIFA to recognise the exiled Afghan women's team
00:48:03 - FIFA's lack of response to requests for recognition

Follow @heroesandhumans everywhere.

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Visit our website for news & updates heroesandhumans.com

The Afghan women’s national team doesn’t exist – not according to FIFA, anyway. The Taliban banned women's football when they took control of Afghanistan in 2021, forcing the team to flee the country for fear of their lives. But FIFA now refuses to recognise the team in exile, allowing the Taliban to continue their gender apartheid. Today, the team is fighting for FIFA recognition and their place in football. Living in exile and risking their lives to play football, the Afghan women's players are determined to return to the international game.
Mehreen and Simon talk to Khalida Popal, the woman who defied the country's misogynistic norms to set up the national team. She became the first female captain, coach, and executive in Afghanistan's history. This is a story of a team’s courage and comradery in the face of death threats and sexual assaults.

To support the Afghan women's team in their fight for recognition, you can sign this petition and follow Khalida Popal on LinkedIn: 
https://www.change.org/p/fifacom-standwithafghanwomen-recognise-afghanistan-women-s-national-football-team-in-exile-follow-alivekicking23
https://www.linkedin.com/in/khalida-popal-64a29176?originalSubdomain=dk

Timestamps:
00:00:02 - Introduction to the episode about Afghanistan's women's football team
00:03:47 - Khalida Popal joins to discuss founding the team
00:03:55 - Growing up in Afghanistan before the Taliban
00:05:09 - Early exposure to football in Afghanistan 
00:06:09 - Returning to Afghanistan after 2001 and facing resistance to women playing football
00:08:56 - Setting up a girls' football team at school despite challenges
00:12:51 - Men discover and threaten the girls playing football
00:14:57 - Story of a teammate forced to stop playing by her family
00:18:06 - Establishing the Afghan women's national team
00:21:07 - Negotiating with the Afghan Football Federation for recognition
00:25:16 - Difficulties of managing the national team and facing abuse
00:30:10 - Fleeing Afghanistan due to death threats
00:33:56 - Evacuating players as Taliban returned to power in 2021
00:41:29 - Current players describe obstacles they faced playing in Afghanistan
00:43:01 - Players' experiences when Taliban took over in 2021
00:45:04 - Campaign for FIFA to recognise the exiled Afghan women's team
00:48:03 - FIFA's lack of response to requests for recognition

Follow @heroesandhumans everywhere.

Instagram

TikTok

Facebook

X


Visit our website for news & updates heroesandhumans.com

49 min