PC: Age of Aquarius Daily News

Nadia Nadim, a football player, is adjusting to a “strange feeling” after a year has passed since the Taliban retook power in Afghanistan.

The milestone comes only weeks after a pivotal time for women’s soccer: the recent European Championships in England drew record-breaking attendance, potentially encouraging a new generation of both girls and boys to take up the sport.
However, the disparity is glaring and women continue to be neglected in Afghanistan, where Nadim was born and raised until the age of 11.

Nadim says, “On the one hand, I feel like what’s happening in Afghanistan where women are not even allowed to go to school or attend work — it’s so weird and it’s so hard to understand. In an event like the Euros, you are fighting for equality, seeing these amazing athletes, women athletes performing at the highest level and given respect.”
The Taliban have been in power in Afghanistan for a year, but they have not yet been recognized by any government in the world, and Western aid is still largely on hold.

The new government’s treatment of minorities and women, which includes a de facto ban on secondary education for girls, has been one of the key concerns for Western nations, despite repeated Taliban vows to permit girls to return to school.

Future uncertainty
After her father was killed by the Taliban more than 20 years ago, Nadim, her mother, and her four sisters escaped Afghanistan.
They finally relocated to Denmark, and Nadim, 34, has been a member of the Danish national team since 2009. Nadim currently plays club football for Racing Louisville in the United States.

She earned her medical degree earlier this year, and between her life as a football player and trained reconstructive surgeon, Afghanistan is never far from her mind.

She tells CNN Sport’s Amanda Davies, “It’s a hopeless scenario and everyone is almost waiting to see what’s going to happen.”

After a year, more individuals are genuinely accepting that this is the reality and will continue for the ensuing five to ten years. It seems like a stage where you’re waiting for something to happen but aren’t sure what it will be, not knowing what tomorrow will bring.

Afghanistan’s women’s national football team members managed to flee Kabul when the Taliban took over last year, and they now reside in Australia.

While the club has emphasised that the programme is initially primarily humanitarian, the youngsters have been given the facilities and coaching access they need to continue their development as football players at Melbourne Victory FC.

Nadim describes herself as “optimistic” when it comes to the prospects for the people of Afghanistan.
She continues, “I always feel like there’s hope, always a light, and this is something that I won’t lose.”
“It could appear to be very, very difficult to me right now. However, I wish for a brighter tomorrow. I hope that at some point, Afghan ladies will be able to enjoy the same rights as people everywhere. “I hope that football players will attend the World Cup and be able to celebrate significant goal-scoring moments. I have something in mind for the future.

Occupied stadiums
Throughout her lengthy football career, Nadim has played for Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain, where she assisted the team in capturing its first league championship and ending Lyon’s 14-year supremacy.

She aspires to utilise football as a catalyst for change off the field and is presently a member of Team Century, a collaboration between Hyundai and the nonprofit organisation Common Goal designed to hasten the sport’s climate action plan.

Nadim played her 100th game for Denmark earlier this year, just before the Euro 2022 tournament started. She may also consider the tournament’s overall success for the women’s game, even though Denmark was unable to advance past the group stages after losses to Spain and Germany.

The host nation “always receives a lot of attention when you play, and their games are sold out,” claims Nadim. But this time, I believe you even had sold-out stadiums throughout group rounds against other teams, which was an incredible experience. It was quite great to be a part of that and see the atmosphere that women’s football produced in England; I truly hope that this will spread and continue.