After the Taliban took control of Afghanistan in August 2021, the Afghan women’s national football team suddenly lost its right to play football at home. To keep acknowledging them as the official national team, hummel has now brought the team back together in Australia and provided them with a new statement logo for their national team shirt.
Let's play an equal game
Going into exile
How would you feel if you lost your right to play football?
For most people, it’s something we can’t even imagine. But for the women of Afghanistan, this suddenly became reality when the Taliban overthrew the Afghan government in August 2021. The lives of so many were shaken, and the women of the Afghan national football team feared for theirs, not only at the hands of the Taliban, but also by those who lived in their neighbourhoods and shared the Taliban’s view.
With help from the former captain of the Afghan women’s national football team Khalida Popal, they managed to flee Afghanistan to Australia - separated from their families and their home country but safe and sound with their secondary family: their team-mates.
Despite the circumstances, they never stopped dreaming of playing football and representing their beloved country again. And that dream has now been brought to life by hummel, who sponsored the team in an eight-year period from 2010-2018 as the first ever official sponsor.
Now hummel has decided to come back and recreate the team in Australia – underlining the fact that they still consider them as the official Afghan national women’s team.
Everyone should have the right to play football
Allan Vad Nielsen, hummel CEO, says:
“Unfortunately, we had to cancel our sponsorship with the Afghan Football Federation (AFF) in 2018 due to their role in a sexual abuse scandal. However, the Afghan women never left our hearts, and that’s why we’re proud to be back as sponsor for the team and support their fight for equality. Because we believe that everyone should have the right to play football – no matter who you are or where you’re from.”
As part of the new unofficial sponsorship, hummel has torn off the old crest from the previous national Afghan shirts and sewed new ones on with an even stronger message - LET’S PLAY AN EQUAL GAME.
“There’s no doubt that these women are extremely proud of their country. That’s also why we wanted to use their previous shirts as a symbol of their love for Afghanistan. And together with the team, we’ve designed a new logo, which symbolises their fight for freedom and equality. Simply because we want to use their voices to raise awareness of all women’s right to play sport. And because we want to continue changing the world through sports, so that everyone can play an equal game,” says Allan Vad Nielsen.
All profit generated from their sale will be donated to the Afghan team in Australia and their fight for equality.
IT'S ALL ABOUT FOOTBALL
The former captain of the Afghan women’s national football team and current Program Director of the team, Khalida Popal, says:
“For me, football runs through my veins and is a fire inside that will never be extinguished and the same goes for all women of the Afghan national football team. With the support from hummel, we’re now finally able to bring the team together again and let them represent their beloved country. I’m extremely proud to stand behind these fearless women, whose determination and bravery saw them escape the Taliban. Together they are empowering many around the world to never stop fighting for freedom.”
Afghan national football goalkeeper Fatima Yousufi, 20-years-old, says:
“It’s a dream for Afghan girls to be able to fight for their rights and every single member of the team has fought for their rights. They are the voice for those who are voiceless. We are trying to bring the change and be the change for society and I am so happy to be here with my second family. Football is like a magical thing for us. Because when we come to the field and when we’re back together, no matter what’s happening on the outside, we’re in another world and just focused on playing football.”