How Afghanistan women’s football teammade it to Australia
An Afghan women’s soccer team made its way across the border into the country’s most isolated and remote corner.
12 May 2010
The Afghan women’s team made its way across the border into the country’s most isolated and remote corner.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) on May 7, 2010, hosted a match between Afghanistan’s national team and an opposition team from Uzbekistan, in the second group game of the Olympic qualifying tournament.
Afghanistan, which qualified for the first time in a women’s team sport event at the Games, is not one of the countries for which Afghanistan was previously considered.
On the eve of the competition, only a few days after a deadly truck collision, which killed 33 people in southwestern Iran, and weeks after a suicide bombing at a crowded football stadium in the north Kabul area, the Afghan women’s team made it to Australia in the first round of play.
The team was led by a mother of three, Farida, who was at the training camp in Australia and was forced to leave her home to attend.
According to the Afghan High Peace Council, Farida and another six members were in Australia for training to compete in the Olympic games. Farida is not among them. Before leaving her home, Farida contacted her brother about a safe route through Pakistan and Iran toward Europe, with a message to her parents to bring her home, but her brother would not allow it.
When Farida arrived in Australia, she told FIFA officials she was being brought to “the first leg in the World Cup final”. But once she got there, Farida said in an e-mail exchange with FIFA, “after I was interviewed here [in Australia] by the F[am]uS [Federation] of F[am]i[es], they did not want me to play in the World Cup final.”
But, Farida told FIFA, she was not allowed to stay the night in Australia and that, as she made her way there, she was given two suitcases and was told that she would be able to enter the games, as she had completed the journey, and that the Australian team had received permission to use her bag.
After leaving the game in the fourth round, the team traveled back