Soccer

I’m Everything The Taliban Don’t Want Their Women To Be

‘I’m actually the picture of everything the Taliban don’t want their women to be,’ Nadia Nadim told CNN.

Meet Nadia Nadim: Refugee, Professional Footballer, Surgeon. Nadim fled Afghanistan with her mother and four sisters in 2000, after the Taliban killed her father.

Twenty-two years on, Nadim has gone on to become one of the stars of the game, boasting an exceptional 16-year professional career in football. To add to her achievements off the pitch, Nadim recently qualified as a doctor after six years of studying.

Nadim was born in Herat, Afghanistan’s third largest city. Her father, Rabani Nadim was a general in the Afghan Army and was executed by the Taliban when she was 11.

The Taliban quickly took over the country which resulted in the rights for girls and women being taken away. Their regime included the withdrawal of all girls from schools.

It was that which prompted Nadim’s mother Hamida to desperately seek a way out for her and her family. In the middle of the night, Nadim, her mother and four sisters fled the country in a small minivan. They escaped to Pakistan for two months before eventually arriving in a refugee camp in Denmark.

Here Nadim found her love for football. While exploring the camp she spotted a group of girls playing football. Nervous, shy and not being able to speak the language at the time, she would stand behind the fence and curiously observe.

Time and time again she would come back and watch. Eventually, she built up the courage to ask the coach if she could join in. As time grew on, she practiced everyday and found her purpose. Living in a Danish society which empowered girls playing sport, Nadim excelled and once her family were accepted asylum, her professional career took off.

Nadim went on to play for Sky Blue FC and the Portland Thorns in the MLS before playing for Man City and PSG. She has represented Denmark since 20009 having notched up 98 caps and over 200 career goals.

In addition to her impressive football career, Nadim is able to speak seven languages and early this year completed her qualifications as a doctor. She fulfilled her dream to become a Reconstructive Surgeon after spending six years studying and flying home for exams and hospital internships around the football season.

‘Being a doctor someday in Afghanistan or somewhere in Africa with Doctors Without Borders, you are someone’s last hope and I’ll be making a difference.’

Often the words inspiration and role model get thrown very easily. In this case, they probably don’t even do Nadia Nadim justice.

HerSport Editor

Her Sport is a platform giving girls and women a voice in sport. Our mission is to level the playing field through increasing visibility, education and creating a cultural shift.
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