How Afghanistan women’s football teammade it to Australia
In October of last year, a small group of women in Afghanistan walked out onto the football field. They had travelled hundreds of miles to play against the largest women’s team in the world, who were based at a school in the Australian city of Sydney.
The women had travelled to Australia to represent Afghanistan’s women’s football in the Asia-Oceania Football Federation region of the World Football Cup. They would be playing against Australia.
The women would make their biggest impression yet in October when they visited Sydney.
The match was a warm-up for the World Cup, which Afghanistan is hosting in March. The team had played just two games in the past six months when Afghanistan had traveled over 1,000 miles across the Pakistani border to play the team from India. They had traveled 3,600 miles in that time to play their first match against the Afghanistan Football Federation.
Women are often relegated to the sidelines in terms of international football. Afghanistan is no exception. However, Afghanistan’s women have been given a chance to make a statement about that, which has been made possible through a number of grassroots initiatives that have been made possible thanks to football.
In the Afghan women’s football team, a lot of the work was done by the grassroots, which is the teams who travel to watch the games, run the training sessions, set goals, raise funds and sell the team’s merchandise.
But Afghanistan’s women’s grassroots, who now travel to watch the games and run the training sessions, have also been crucial in helping Afghanistan become one of the most popular nations in the World Cup qualifying process. That has helped Afghanistan qualify for the top level of women’s football.
“This is not a nation who has come out. This is a nation that has grown out of the grassroots,” said Dr. Amena Asirvand, a doctor at a Kabul hospital and former football coach. “This is a nation that came out to win the World Cup. This is a nation that has grown and achieved through a number of initiatives.”
In 2010, the women’s team won the Asian-Oceania Championship and in May, they became the first team from Afghanistan to earn