How Afghanistan women’s football teammade it to Australia
Noor Gul, left, along with teammate Zaman Daud and head coach Siamuddin. Photo: Nazeerul Amin
FUTURE FAN IN Afghanistan is now looking towards women’s football. But the women’s team was one of the first to be invited to travel to Australia for the inaugural Asian Games in the city of Melbourne in January this year.
The team had originally been invited in June 2013. However, it took longer than expected as the Afghan team was not yet ready for the selection.
“We were selected in July, and then got delayed in October,” says Noor Gul, head coach of the team.
Head coach of women’s football team at Kabul University, Siamuddin, says the team had received a lot of support from the Afghan government before travelling.
“Before we arrived on the plane, we received a lot of encouragement from the Afghan government,” he says.
Slamming the door
It took a while before the women’s team finally got the green light to fly to Australia.
“It was a long process, it was not easy,” says Gul.
“But my team had the best support from all of my colleagues who were in different provinces of Afghanistan.”
Gul says his team travelled to Australia with a heavy heart, but also with a big smile on their faces.
“At that time, people had stopped playing football and they were afraid of Afghanistan,” says Siamuddin, head coach of the women’s football team at Kabul University. “But once they saw the team, they took an interest in them and appreciated them.”
The team travelled from Kabul to Melbourne after receiving a letter from the Afghan president, Hamid Khatri, inviting them to travel to Australia.
“We received this letter and I was very happy,” says Gul.
“We had no idea we were going to be selected to go to Australia.”
The team was selected at the request of the Afghan president and a group of the country’s leading women’s football coaches