How Afghanistan women’s football teammade it to Australia
As Afghanistan’s first women footballers, they were not prepared for their trip to Australia.
The players were not accustomed to crossing international borders and doing what was not normal when they went into town to play football at their club on the outskirts of Kabul.
When they eventually got to Australia, they were left in a shock by the lack of support they got.
The team set off on their journey in November 2017 for a tournament in Kabul.
They were all young and in their late teens and were all female. However, that day could have been their last.
One of the Afghan players said the team were travelling to a club in Kabul.
“We were heading to Kabul,” she said.
“I was so scared – I didn’t know what was going on.
“The security was very bad, we were in a bus and we had to go to the toilet, and our hands were tied.”
Two days after they began the journey they were stopped at the border in Uzbekistan.
“The security guards were very rude,” she said. “We were locked in the bus for 24 hours.”
‘My legs were shaking’
The players were taken by bus to a hotel in the city.
“We had our passports, but we couldn’t open them because they are stamped with the numbers of people on them,” she said.
There was no way to make a phone call so they had to wait for someone to come for them.
They were taken to a different hotel, where they were kept for three days. During that time their passports were stamped again with the number of people and they were denied access to the bus or wifi.
“I had to buy our own internet access card,” she said.
In Kabul, the players didn’t know anyone
“It took three days to get to Kabul from Uzbekistan,” she said. “And we thought it was not possible now to go to Australia because we don’t know anyone.
“So we had no money and we had to work at the hotel.