How Afghanistan women’s football teammade it to Australia
Dania Jones and Zeba, the captain and vice-captain of their football team, have spent over a decade traveling around the world, from one tour of Afghanistan to a trip to the Australian men’s national team squad.
“The majority of our families back home don’t really know what women’s football is, or what the sport is, and most of my close friends are unaware of what I have been doing since I was 16,” said Zeba.
“But the people who understand what I do and what I am doing, they know me as a football player and they respect me for that.”
Football is a massive part of their lives.
They are members of the Afghan Women’s Football Association (AWFA), the first all-female football team in the world.
They represent Afghanistan in the AFC Women’s Asian Cup qualifiers in Thailand. The national team plays in the FIFA U23 Women’s World Cup South Korea next month.
They travel to Australia to participate in the AFC Youth Championships from July 18-28.
With the assistance of Women’s Football Australia (WFA), they made it to Australia for the first time in the country’s history.
“Australia is the only country I have been to that has accepted us,” said Dania.
“This is the first time I have been to Australia and the World Cup qualifier it is my first real opportunity I have been given in a country that is accepting of the women’s game, and what it means.”
The AWFA is the only Afghan football team, and one of only two all-female teams in the world.
“We are the only female football team,” says Zeba.
“Not only is this the only female football team in the world, but we’re an all-female team.”
Dania first played in Afghanistan, but later played for a women’s football team in Russia.