It took months of negotiations and international cooperation to succeed in pulling out the hopeful female selection from Afghanistan. The young football player is now a refugee with their families in Leeds and is supported by a professional club in the English city.
On a Thursday in November, shortly before 4 a.m., a private plane landed on an icy London runway. There were 130 people on board this specially chartered flight: young football players and their families, exhausted, stressed but relieved, at the end of a tragic trip from Afghanistan to the United Kingdom that began four months before the fall of Kabul. happened. which fell into the hands of the Taliban.
After several months of hiding, political conversations, calls for help and WhatsApp messages, and thanks to the help of a reality TV star and the heroic efforts of former footballer Afghan Khaleda Popal, a selection of women hopefuls from Afghanistan have landed on British soil, and Leeds United with hopes of a new future at the club.
The group, which includes 35 young football players and their parents, lived in Pakistan on temporary visas. After lengthy negotiations, the United Kingdom agreed to welcome him on its soil.
For Khaleda Pople, former captain of the national women’s team, who played a key role in the evacuation of at least three Afghan footballers, today is “happy day”,
“Initially, Afghan women’s football was based on militant action: we sought to put our voices and the power of our sporting program beyond the simple sporting framework, into the service of women’s emancipation and justice., she explained in a statement to the press. This team has suffered a lot and had to make many sacrifices during their journey to freedom. Since they had to leave their homes in August, they are eager to regain the basic human rights and freedoms that we often take for granted.”
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