I’ll Take the Death Threats

“I love football and football is everything for me and when I come and feel the football I forget everything and I become very happy when I see my team”

Many people play soccer, especially women. But for some women playing soccer means death threats, parental disapproval, and ostracizing.

The Afghan women’s soccer team deals these obstacles all the time.

CNN’s Nick Walsh talks to the Afghan women’s soccer team about why they go through these obstacles. To many Afghans, being such a conservative society, believe women shouldn’t play sports. But for these Afghan soccer players, soccer is everything. Team captain Khalida Popal explains why see I so willing to face these threats:

“I love football and football is everything for me and when I come and feel the football I forget everything and I become very happy when I see my team.”

Now the team is facing another, unforeseen issue. They have nowhere to practice. The team use to be able to practice at the main stadium in Kabul, even if they were only allowed to play on concrete patch at one in—Even though the stadium is covered in real grass. But local officials are now restricting the team to even use their patch of concert.

Afghan Women's Soccer Team (4)NATO, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, has now taken pity on the team. The team is now allowed to use a small patch of grass outside the outer walls of NATO main headquarters in Kabul. However mores issues continue to arise. The field does have goalpost but the grass patch is not made of soccer. It’s an active helipad!

But soccer is more important the team.

Even though they have to clear the field when Black Hawks descend onto the field, the women keep playing.

They keep fighting!

Afghan Women's Soccer Team (2)

Khalida, the team’s captain, says she is fighting to play the game she loves even though it is incredible tough. To her stopping would mean there is no point to life. When her family said “No, just stop playing football,” Khalida attempted suicide.

Afghan Women's Soccer Team (3)Most of the community’s disapproval steams the women being unaccompanied overseas for the international matches.

For some girls, the constant threats are too hard to handle. Many of the girls consider quitting when the threats are too intense. A player even explains that two of her fellow teammates quit and fled the country. Some girls’ families don’t know they still play.

The families concern for there daughters safety is understandable, however soccer is a source of joy to these women and many other people all over the world. Taken soccer away from these women is like taking these Afghan women soccer players freedom way. These women need soccer as a release from the outside world and will continue to fight for what they love.

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