Afghanistan: Taliban-run federation intends to rebuild women’s football team

The Taliban-run Afghanistan Football Federation has announced it intends to re-establish the Afghan Women’s Football Team and has called for female football players to register.

“The Afghan Football Federation intends to re-form the Afghan women’s national football team, which has been broken for a while due to numerous problems, from outside capacities,” the federation said in a statement.

Taliban’s spokesman for the federation, Firoz Mashoof, confirmed the move to Amu TV on Monday afternoon.

According to the federation, female football players, whether previously members of the national team or amateur, semi-professional, or professional players currently based outside of Afghanistan, should register and submit the required documents.

The AFF also stated that after a comprehensive review by the new technical team of the Afghan Women’s Football Team, eligible players are invited to a camp to select the national coach.

The AFF said “we are excited to announce that the Afghanistan Football Federation is initiating the registration process for the formation of a new Afghanistan women’s national football team.

“Despite numerous challenges that have led to the team’s dissolution, we’re determined to rebuild it and create new opportunities for female football players,” the federation said.

The federation added it looks forward to receiving their applications and “rebuilding the Afghanistan women’s national football team together.”

Regrouped as football club

In August 2021, following the takeover of the country by the Taliban, former team captain Khalida Popal who was based in Denmark, urged players to delete their social media accounts, erase public identities and burn their kits for safety’s sake. On 25 August, the Australian government announced they had evacuated 75 Afghan women athletes including the football players.

The Afghanistan women’s national team were able to regroup in Australia in early 2022 where they secured a partnership with A-League club Melbourne Victory. This enabled them to continue operating and to train at the Darebin International Sports Centre.

In March 2022, the national team was admitted into Football Victoria’s state league.

Afghanistan was meanwhile included in the draw in January 2023 for the 2024 AFC Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament.