How Afghanistan women’s football teammade it to Australia in first foray abroad
A woman’s football team made its first foray outside Afghanistan when they took to the Australian football field on Saturday.
But women’s football is still banned under Afghanistan’s sporting laws which have been condemned by the British government.
The Australian team played with the Afghan National team – the first time the two teams played against each other.
And while the women were not allowed to wear headscarves with their football outfits, it was a welcome first step towards allowing footballers to showcase their talent on the international stage.
The team has been taking on Australian teams in the region and some have been selected to take part in the Asian Games held in Indonesia next year.
But for now, they have arrived in Sydney where they will be training at the Australian National University’s (ANU) Sydney campus.
While the team has been selected to take part in the Asian Games, they are still banned from wearing headscarves.
“We have been fighting for women’s football but we need to be recognized because football is a part of the Afghan culture.”
A woman plays for her team at the national stadium in Kabul on January 18, 2005. (Photo: AP)
“Football is a very important part of Afghan cultural heritage,” said Lutayab Khan, the head coach for the Afghan Women’s Team and the head coach for the Afghan National Team.
“In Afghanistan, women must wear a headscarf.
“We are in the first generation of Afghan women who can play football.
“The women’s team has been fighting for this.”
Football is a family affair for many Afghan women, especially young girls, said Lutayab Khan.
“Football is one of the first things that comes in the door of our home.
“When we talk with our mothers and sisters, the most important thing that comes in the door of the house is football because it is traditional.”
Football is often played with siblings – with the coach sitting