Khalida Popal was born in Kabul, Afghanistan in 1987. She was born to a well-educated and open-minded mother who, as a teacher, wanted her daughter to engage in sports. She bought Khalida a pair of boots and a football so she could play with her brothers and her classmates with the hopes of creating an interest in women's sport and the freedom for girls to play.
In 1996, when the Taliban entered Kabul, Khalida and her family left for Peshawar, just over the border in Pakistan. They were unable to return until November 2001.
Upon their return, Khalida’s mother formed a girls’ football club at her school and campaigned for other schools to establish clubs. Together, the clubs went to the Afghanistan Football Federation and asked for a women’s football committee.
In 2005 the federation organized a women's committee and selected the best players from around Kabul, one of whom was Khalida.
The national team started with just four girls, aged 15 to 17. She became the first ever female employee of the Afghanistan Football Federation, working in finance.
While the Taliban no longer controlled the government at this time, conservative voices, uncomfortable with football as an appropriate activity for women, targeted Khalida. They threatened her and her family. They spread rumors she was anti-Afghan and against Islam. They eventually gave her an ultimatum: stop playing and leading women's football or else. Her brother and coach were beaten with the guidance that they were to force Khalida to abandon her work.
In April 2011, in danger of losing her life and without her family, Khalida abruptly left Afghanistan, fleeing through India from which she sought asylum in Denmark.
She vowed to continue to fight for Afghan women to have equal rights and opportunities, even if it was from afar.
Now she lives in Denmark with her mother, brother, and father, who only recently received asylum in 2016.
She studied at the Copenhagen Business Academy and is the Program Director for the Afghanistan Women's National Team. She has spoken at the United Nations, FIFA and in various human rights conferences around the world.
Click here to read Khalida Popal's story
Shabnam Mobarez, act as a Girl Power Ambassador in Denmark, helping to promote women’s participation in sports in their communities and across the country.
She is player of Girl power football team. Mobarez is 20 year-old girl, who has been playing soccer for 5-6 years. Recently Mobarez has been playing in BI Brønderslev, She played in more than 100 official and friendly games for her club. She is top scorer of her club. She has been also coaching one of refugee teams in Denmark.
Her love and passion for soccer started when she moved to Denmark as an immigrant back in 2003. Mobarez Says” I was a young girl when I first embarked upon my love of soccer. I used to play with boys before even thinking twice about my gender or segregating myself in any other way”
Back in those days and even today, soccer to me is equivalent to dance. Dance is an expressive art, just like music, poetry or paintings - and soccer to me is that holy of art.
She Says, “Dancing with my feet to tune of the ball, gives me a pleasure no one will understand”.
Throughout the years, she has visited other countries, besides Afghanistan where she have been able to interact with the people that admire soccer. “Most of them are young girls with a similar dream. I hear their stories of pursuing their goals for the future. I see the thrill of emotions they each uphold as they speak of their aspirations, and it reminds me of where I have come from. I hope that I can inspire these girls, not just for a future in soccer, but as a lesson that hard work, dedication, and a little hope goes a long way “Mobarez”
Click here to find Mobarez in the list of top scorer’s, Bi-net.dk