Escape from Afghanistan – patriotic players granted asylum in Australia

Nearly half of the Afghan women’s soccer team was on one of the planes that took off from Kabul on Tuesday morning, along with family members and athletes from other sports. The Australian government has announced that it will grant them asylum. Jonas Baer-Hoffman of the Fifpro Players Association is relieved about this success, but also says:

“However, we are not satisfied or reassured yet. We are of course happy for the people who made them. But there are other players on the site who are in a similar risk. Accordingly, we are trying to open the doors, through which we have been able to open and keep them open, so that we hope to evacuate them as well.” .

(IMAGO / Xinhua)Female footballers in Afghanistan – ‘Playing football is a symbol of resistance’
The Taliban’s takeover of power in Afghanistan puts the women’s national soccer team at risk. Fifpro general secretary Jonas Baer-Hoffmann said on the Deutschlandfunk website that Fifpro is therefore trying to put women on its departure lists.

Not all of them have a chance to evacuate

With teams made up of human rights lawyers and former national team coaches, Fifpro has tried everything in recent days to put athletes on their lists of flights abroad. But he also knows that many people don’t have this support:

“I don’t know how they should find their way, so there will surely be a lot more people in danger than anyone can be able to evacuate with all their might. That’s why of course it’s bittersweet, let’s put it that way.”

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‘They will not stop their fight’

It remains unclear how it will continue for the rescued athletes. Will the Afghan women’s national soccer team play together again? Doubtful, says Jonas Baer-Hoffmann:

“This is probably one of the strongest groups of people I’ve ever met in my life. I’m sure you won’t stop fighting because you’ve probably achieved more in your life and against more resistance than most people can imagine.”

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