They fled Afghanistan to play football

They were playing football for a team in Herat, Afghanistan when the Taliban took power. These three young girls fled their country with their trainer, fearing for their lives. Refugees in Florence, Italy, today they want a simple life: to go to school and practice their sport.

Especially for us women and girls who play sports the situation was very bad and we had to leave our country“explains Sara (Editor’s note, her name has been changed) Afghan footballer.

They asked us not to show their faces because they are afraid for their families back in Afghanistan. The establishment in which they are located must also remain secret. But, we can still show you this: a soccer ball. A simple game for many of us, but a very dangerous activity in our country“explains euronews special envoy to Florence, Luca Palamara.

For years, these young girls have been pursuing their dream of becoming professional footballers in their country and are not ready to give up: “Football makes me feel powerful. I want to play and show my skills and talent to the whole world.”

They were able to arrive in Italy thanks to the tireless work of the Cospe association, which has supported the rights of Afghan women since 2008.

“We were very scared for their lives. And although we deeply regretted not being able to bring them all back here, when we saw them arrive in Florence, the emotion was tremendous for all of us. To be able to wander them around. our arms and see them again just days after hearing their cry for help.“emphasizes Anna Meli of the COSPE association.

The city of Florence has hosted as many as 120 Afghan refugees out of more than 1,000 of those who have fled to Italy in recent weeks.

What I say to my fellow citizens is that they should never take freedom and democracy for granted. What happens in Afghanistan can happen anywhere. It is one thing to fight for women’s rights in Italy and in Europe, but quite another to do so in a country where you risk your life doing so “ explains Dario Nardella the mayor of Florence.

“My hope and that of the other girls is to stay here and improve our football level, our education and our work. I hope that one day peace will come to Afghanistan and we will return to our country.” says one of the young Afghan women.

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