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Who Is Khalida Popal? Ex-Captain Of Afghani Soccer Team Telling Players To Erase Their Identity

who is Khalida Popal
Who Is Khalida Popal?: The Athlete recently came into the limelight again after her statement on the current Afghanistan crisis. As the former captain of the Afghan women’s soccer team, she has encouraged women to be bold but now she is asking the players to erase their identities.

Now that the Taliban has recaptured Afghanistan, the Copenhagen-based athlete said that the Afghan female athletes are fearing for their life.

During a video interview with Reuters, Popal said, “Today I’m calling them and telling them, take down their names, remove their identities, take down their photos for their safety. Even I’m telling them to burn down or get rid of your national team uniform,” she said.

She added that it is painful for an activist like her who did everything possible to earn that identity as a woman’s national team player.

She said, “To earn that badge on the chest, to have the right to play and represent our country, how much we were proud.” Dreading the horrors of the Taliban’s rule during 1996-2001 to be repeated, Popal said that women might lose soccer which brought them gains in the recent past. She said that the game had enabled women to take a stand for their rights to silence the ones who opposed them.

Talking about the current situation in Afghanistan, she said, “They are so afraid. They are worried, they are scared, not only the players but also the activists… they have nobody to go to, to seek protection, to ask for help if they are in danger.”

FIFA spokesperson reportedly said that they are in contact with the Afghanistan Football Federation and will continue to monitor the local situation to extend support in the time to come.

Who Is Khalida Popal?

  • Popal established Afghanistan women’s league with the support of the Afghanistan Football Association and her friends. The team then played its first match in Pakistan in 2008. The match was against the International Security Forces XI. They played their first international game in 2010 at the South Asian Women’s Football Championship in Bangladesh.
  • Popal started receiving several death threats in Afghanistan after she fled the country. She made her way to Denmark via India and Norway. After living in Denmark for one year as a refugee, she was given residency.
  • The athlete was soon unable to carry forward her sports career due to a knee injury.
  • She found the Girl Power Organisation. She also became ambassador to Street Child World Cup and director at Afghanistan Women’s National Football Team.
  • Born in 1987 in Kabul, she was taught to play football by her mother who was a physical education teacher.
  • As per reports, she currently works with a Denmark-based apparel company. The company recently designed built-in hijabs for players in her soccer team. The message carried forward by the brand and Popal was that women playing sports does not go against culture or religion.

Suggested Readings:

Newborn Hurt in Stampede, Delhi-Based Afghan Woman Cries For Family Stuck In Kabul

Mahbouba Seraj: The Godmother Of Resistance Fighting For Afghan Women’s Rights

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