Afghan Female Players
In Afghanistan, women don’t have equal educational opportunities, nor do they have the possibility to independently pursue their goals or dreams. Football gives the women of Afghanistan the chance to build confidence and independence. This leads to a quality of life previously unknown to them. With football as a tool, Afghan women have taken charge of their future and sent a clear message to fellow Afghans and to the rest of the world; Afghanistan can have a better and brighter future.
hummel supports the Afghan women’s path into the world of football as well as their struggle for equal rights. Sponsorships and aid are just part of this dedication. More importantly, hummel gives them a voice and promote their fight for a better future through football, and it is the hope that hummel, in this way, can help them and Afghanistan forward.
The NATO Match
On the 29th of October 2010, hummel, NATO and the Afghan Football Federation arranged a friendly match between the stationed troops in Kabul and the Afghan women’s national football team.
The match became a symbol of hope for the women of Afghanistan, who have outlived violence and ruthless oppression through several decades. Demonstrating the improvement of women’s rights in Afghanistan, the game was played by a proud and fearless group of Afghan women, who despite having been harassed and threatened by their countrymen for playing a ‘man’s sport’, turned years of oppression into a 1-0 victory.
The match was also a way of bringing the situation in Afghanistan to the attention of the whole world. For the Afghan women’s team captain, Khalida Popal, the match sent an important signal to both the outside world and people in Afghanistan:
“The match was very important to us," she said, "because it shows the world that there are Afghans who are against war and in favour of peace and happiness. And we want to make it clear to all the women of Afghanistan that they are both able and at liberty to play football now."
The Afghan women’s national football team has since the NATO match continued their efforts towards more victories, and on the 16th of February, 2012 they celebrated their first official international victory, which was a 2-0 win against Qatar. In 2016, the team took another great step by holding their first training camp in Dublin, California. Under the wings of the two professional American coaches, Kelly Lindsey and Haley Carter, the team learned a lot about technique, team work as well as their teammates.
During their stay, they also participated in the AFSO Cup (Afghan Football Support Organization) and on the 4th of September, the Afghanistan team won in the finals against Salinas FC from Mexico. With this experience, they are now looking ahead towards the SAFF Championship (South Asian Football Federation), where the goal is to play in top 3.