After fleeing the Taliban: Afghan footballers make their debut in Australia

Status: 04/24/2022 12:38 PM

The Afghanistan women’s national soccer team played its first match since fleeing the Taliban-ruled country last year.

As reported by the Australian newspaper “The Sydney Morning Herald”, the women were accepted into the Australian Amateur League with the support of the Melbourne Victory club, which plays in the Australian League. “A special moment in the club’s history,” the club tweeted after the goalless draw with ETA Buffalo Club of Victoria.

The Sydney Morning Herald wrote that the team is now an unofficial team in exile after rescuing the players from Kabul. In Afghanistan, they feared retribution from the Taliban regime for refusing to allow women to participate in sports. “The best thing about that day was that the girls were able to play together. They had a lot of fun as a group and are now playing football as a group again,” said coach Jeff Hopkins.

The team played in a red shirt that displayed numbers and the national flag of Afghanistan, not the names of the players. “It’s about who we are, we want to protect our families,” Captain Fatima said, according to Australian news service SBS News. Some went by their first names and others by nicknames.

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