Nadia Nadeem says ‘it’s a hopeless situation’ a year after Taliban takeover in Afghanistan

The anniversary comes a few weeks after a milestone for women’s football: the European Championship. attracted a record number of viewers in England just a few weeks ago, which could inspire an entire generation of girls and boys to take up the sport.

However, in Afghanistan, where Nadeem was born and raised to age 11, the contrast is stark and women are still marginalized.

“At an event like the Euro, you are fighting for equality, seeing these amazing athletes, women athletes perform at the highest level and are respected,” explains Nadeem, “and on the other hand, I feel what is happening in Afghanistan, where women are not even allowed to go to school or work – it’s so strange and so hard to understand.”

After a year of rule in Afghanistan, the Taliban are still not recognized by any country in the world, and international funding is still largely frozen.

One of the main concerns for Western countries has been the new government’s treatment of minorities and women, including a de facto ban on girls from secondary education, while repeated promises by the Taliban to allow girls to go back to school have yet to be fulfilled.

Uncertain future

Along with her mother and four sisters, Nadeem fled Afghanistan more than two decades ago after her father was killed by the Taliban.

They eventually settled in Denmark, and 34-year-old Nadeem, who currently plays club football for Racing Louisville in the US, has been representing Denmark since 2009.

But in between her life as a soccer player and a skilled reconstructive surgeon — she received her MD earlier this year — Afghanistan has never left her mind.

“It’s a hopeless situation and everyone is almost waiting to see what happens,” she says. CNN Sports Amanda Davis.

“A year has passed and people are really recognizing that this is a reality, and it will be so for the next five to ten years.

“It’s like a phase where you don’t know what tomorrow will bring and you wait for something to happen, but no one really knows what it is.”

When the Taliban seized power last year, players on the Afghan women’s soccer team managed to flee the capital, Kabul, and have since settled in Australia.

There, the players were provided with the necessary facilities and access to coaches to continue their development as footballers at Melbourne Victory FC, although the club stressed that the program is still primarily humanitarian in nature.

In terms of what the future might be for the people of Afghanistan, Nadeem describes himself as an “optimistic person.”

“I always feel there is hope, there is always light, and that is something I will never lose,” she adds.

“It may seem very, very difficult to me right now. But I hope for a better future. I hope that at some point girls in Afghanistan will be given the same rights as anywhere else.

“I hope that you will have players who will take part in the World Cup and will be able to celebrate important scoring moments. This is what I hope for in the future.”

Sold out stadiums

Nadia Nadeem:

Nadeem’s long football career included appearances at Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain, where she helped the team win their first league title, breaking Lyon’s 14-year reign.

Off the field, she hopes to use the sport as a vehicle for change and is currently participating as a member of Team of the Century – a partnership between Hyundai and the Common Goal charity movement to accelerate the implementation of the football action plan to combat climate change.

Nadeem made her 100th appearance for Denmark earlier this year, shortly before taking the field at Euro 2022. the course of the tournament.

“Usually when you play, the host country gets a lot of attention and their games sell out,” says Nadeem. “But I think this time even the group stages with other teams sold out all the stadiums and it was an amazing experience.

“Being a part of it and feeling the vibe that women’s football has created in England has been pretty amazing; I really hope it spreads and continues.”

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