My name is Masoumeh Mohammadi, graduated from civil aviation in Air traffic controller from Afghanistan, I live in Kabul city, I am 24 years old and I am a mother of 3 months old son.
I am belongs to football family, my father and my brothers were used to play football, and now my husband is playing football in national team of Afghanistan.
I started playing football from a very young age, and I started playing professional football for 4 years now. I played in one of the women’s football club in Kabul and I played football in Kabul league, it was the time that I was selected and invited for the national team of Afghanistan.
When AFF invited me to Afghanistan women’s national football team, it was like a dream come true, because my father used to work in AFF, and sometimes I was going with him to AFF and I could see the women’s national football team was playing football in cold and snowing weather, or in very hot sunny summer.
I was in love with our women’s national team; I was always surprised, how passionate they are for that game. They were working hard for the national team, and since I was amazed of their love and hard work, even they had limited opportunities and limited resources and so many cultural barriers that they were facing in their daily life, but they were still playing football, that made me to start dreaming and working hard to join our national team, and stay strong for our own rights.
When I started playing football people where laughing on us and making fun of women’s football, people were insulting us as women football player, but I didn't give up, because I felt the strength and beauty of that game and the person and personality that football made me, it was/is impossible for barriers, and boundaries to stop me for playing football.
When I joined the national football team, I felt that I am one of the luckiest people in the world that I achieved my dream.
The time I enter the football pitch I forget all the problems and barriers as women that we are facing in our society.
I feel strong, happy, lucky, and free when I play football, and stay as a group together with my teammates.
Life has changed the meaning for me since I started playing football. I love to use football to empower women and women rights in our country. I love to use the opportunity, which I have to empower and help another women.
Today I carry C FIFA Coaching license, and I’m volunteer football coach for one of the orphanage center in Kabul, I coach girls in different age, some of my players are invited to the national team, and I am very happy and proud to see my players as teammates.
I am happy that my family are supportive and my husband is very supportive and he is encouraging me to play football. I feel very happy when he come wit my son to football field and watch me playing football and he support me, and the same when I go with my son when he play football we cheer for him.
When I compere my life with some of their women’s in Afghanistan and some of our players that they got married and after getting marriage they were not allowed to play football and end it being at home even they were not allowed to continue education and work, and some of our players don't want to get marriage because they don't want to risk their carrier and the love for the game, I feel sad for them.
After the changes, which is made in Afghanistan women’s national football team, and we got the foreigner coaches, and women coaches which is great I feel very happy and I am very positive about the future of Afghanistan women’s football.
Imagine with those problems and difficulties, which we face every day we didn't give up, now with this opportunities and support of coaches and if we even can manage to have training camps and friendly games, than nothing can stop as to reach in high level and touch the sky of success.
Afghanistan women’s national football team needs attention and support, we can get it, we can encourage support more women and girls to join this movement and we can bring a cultural change in our country, people will get use to see women in sports or active in society, we will be role models for the rest of the women’s in our country.
I love the mix of the Afghan women players, which is invited from outside of Afghanistan and inside of Afghanistan based on their talents to the national team, by arranging training camps we can learn from each other and transfer the knowledge and culture back in our country.
If this attention and support continues, I am sure soon we will reach our dreams to play in women world cup and bring pride to our beautiful and injured country Afghanistan.
Together we can change the image of our country, we will fight with our footballs against odds and against tourism, which changed the beautiful image of our country, we will change it back to a beautiful country, where all citizens will be allowed and free to practice their own choice and feel freedom, and peace.
My son is the future of Afghanistan that is why I bring him to the football pitch to see women playing football and to see men playing football, I want to educate him and I want him to be used to see women practicing the game that they love.
I want my son to learn to respect women, I want him to be the man that respect and accept women’s activity and women’s participation in society, and I want him to encourage women, and support women when he grow up.
I want to be a role model not only for women who do any sports, but also for mothers, to be a good teacher for their son’s and daughters, mothers are playing key role in changing society, they are the first teacher of their son’s.
My Name is Madina Azizi, I’m 21 years old, and I live in Kabul Afghanistan.
I have started playing football from childhood, when I was in one of primary schools in Iran. I lived many years with my family as refugee in Iran.
I played football at school for having fun, and as after school activities, until I watched the football match of Afghanistan VS Iran. Afghanistan played friendly game against Iran after Taliban regime.
I was very disappointed and very sad, I carried a lot after that game, and actually that game changed my thoughts and aim as playing football for fun to playing to a reason, playing for a mission, playing football for change.
The game that the Afghanistan Men’s National Football Team played against Iran National football team was very disappointed game, Afghanistan played very bad and Iran could score more than 20 goals. I was very happy to see our national team and cheer for them and I felt very happy and proud, but the happiness didn't last longer.
We found out that it was not a real national team; the team was selected based on relationship of the people who were governing body of sports in Afghanistan, on that time.
The jokes about Afghanistan National Football team was all around Iran, and the team and its football, became joke of the year in Iran. It wasn't a good experience for us as an Afghan refugee living in Iran. People started teasing as and making jokes on us, it was really annoying. I carried many days and there was a time that I said to myself one day I will play in my National team and bring pride home and I will show them what is a real football and real football player, and what is love for the nation and the country.
When we returned Afghanistan our own country; Afghanistan, I started playing football at school, I was 17 years old back than, our school sent us to one of the international football events in India, it was a football tournament.
Subroto cup is an International football tournament held in India, I played football there, we didn't win, but it was a great start of my journey, one of the coaches from National team was there and saw me playing, he selected me in National team.
I was at high school back than, when the national women’s football team was playing was really dreaming to play one day on our women’s National football team.
One day; I got a call from someone from Afghanistan football federation, that they invited me for the national team’s tryout. I didn't believe it, I was totally surprised I was telling to myself “ Madina wake up, this is not true”.
I went to tryouts and I passed and I was selected for the national team. It was like a dream come true.
I remember the day that the coach give me the national team uniform, I was so happy I was crying, while I was smiling, I couldn’t believe, that it can be true.
I wear the uniform I slept the entire night with my first national team’s uniform, I didn't wanted to take it off.
I was feeling different and especial; I was feeling proud and happy, when I had that uniform on.
I felt the freedom and success, when I got the opportunity to play for my country, and wear the national team uniform and play under the flag of my country, my own country Afghanistan.
Since, I started playing football in National team, my life has changed a lot. Football gave me different meaning of life. I see the world different, the meaning of life different, from what I used to see and feel before playing.
I feel I am at this planet to change something; I have a task in this planet to help and support and use all the opportunities, which I have to help other people and especially women from my own gender.
Football gave me the self-confidence, and power to take decisions in my life for my self.
Being women in Afghanistan is a challenge and playing football or doing any sport activities are even a bigger challenge, but I am not a person to give up.
I believe strong people and successful people work hard to achieve their dreams and they don't give up, I want to be one of those people.
As a women and as football player, I face difficulties and challenges, in our male dominated society, since Afghanistan been a war turn country for many decades, it has effected the country a lot, and it has changed the real culture of Afghanistan, that use to be peaceful country, with a lot of respect to women.
Its not even men who are against women’s development, but its also women who are against women. I think the violence of women against women are higher then men against women.
I was studying at school and then in colleague, my teachers knew that I was playing football, since I wearing that national uniform I changed my wearing style from girly outfit to sporty outfits, so my teachers were really against me, and the were insulting me many times.
My teachers were insulting me and seeing me as prostitute, it was/is really difficult for me to tell them that I love sports and I love my outfits and my wearing style, it’s because of the love, the love for football.
Many times my teachers kicked me out of class, it was not only male teacher, but also female.
I was hiding myself for hours and crying for the pressure and stress and insult that they gave me, and it was 100% discrimination.
I was the one giving huge to myself and I was the only one telling to myself” listen girl your strong, you can make it, these people are jealous, they cant do what I can, that is why they are against it. Don’t give up, clean your tears come out of the dark room, go to light give a smile to the world and tell them your dreams are bigger then their understanding and knowledge, they have to come up to understand you, because your not going down to explain them. Show them you can and you’re strong”.
I am very happy from the changes, which has been made, in national team, I am very happy that we got the women coaches and foreign coaches, the people that can understand our problem and understand our dreams and the people who are welling to help us to achieve our dreams, and bring pride to our national as a women.
We are optimistic about our future, and believe in our strengths and power as women, we will change the situation, which is right now for women in our country.
I want to be a role model for the new generations, as the other women is our role model.
I am proud school sports teacher, when my students come to me and tell me “ teacher I want to play for our national team like you do. I want to play football like you do and I want to be like you.” That is what makes me to work hard and be a good role model, because I believe in power of sports and I believe, if football changed my life and give me the strength; it will change the other women lives too.
One day we will play in women’s world cup, and I am sure there will be many people men and women will cheer for us, and there will be many people who will carry Afghan flag and wave for us.