Sportswear brand hummel has contributed to the Afghanistan Women’s national team’s fight for equality with the release of a new statement home shirt.
The team is rebuilding its identity after being forced to flee the country following the Taliban takeover in August last year.
Not only were the women’s football players forced to suspend action, Zakia Khudadadi almost missed a milestone opportunity to feature at the 2020 Paralympics.
Khudadadi was initially denied her chance to compete in the Para-taekwondo contest in Tokyo, but managed to secure her spot after the IPC gave her the nod following her successful evacuation from Afghanistan.
Khudadadi and her compatriot Hossain Rasouli were airlifted from Kabul to Paris just in time to make the trip to Tokyo. She became the first Afghan female Paralympic to compete at the Games since Mareena Karim in 2004.
The lives of so many Afghan residents were shaken after the Taliban seized control of the capital.
Afghan women were placed in huge danger after Kabul fell to the extremist group. The movement previously held power between 1996 and 2001, during which time it enforced its own version of Sharia law, severely restricting the rights and freedom of women.
The regime forbade women to work or study, with imprisonment and even execution facing those who went against these newly enforced laws.
As athletes and activists, the Afghanistan women’s national soccer team faced danger under Taliban rule.
So the Australian government welcomed them — all 75 athletes, officials, and relatives — to seek refuge within its borders. pic.twitter.com/2x1vBssBkw— The Recount (@therecount) August 25, 2021
Thankfully, with the help of global players’ union FIFPRO, 77 Afghan athletes and family members, fled Kabul.
The Afghanistan national team was reunited in Australia after being granted visas and recently announced its return to competitive football.
The youth team was also successfully evacuated following help from former captain Khalida Popal. Media personality and businesswoman Kim Kardashian also supported the operation, pledging a donation to help fund the flight to the UK.
Australia’s Football Victoria structure has accepted the senior Afghan side and it will become a full contender for the 2022 season.
In preparation for the campaign, hummel has provided new shirts for the players and replaced the old crest with a new one bearing the message: ‘Let’s play an equal game’.
𝐿𝐸𝒯'𝒮 𝒫𝐿𝒜𝒴 𝒜𝒩 𝐸𝒬𝒰𝒜𝐿 𝒢𝒜𝑀𝐸— hummel (@hummel1923) April 7, 2022
We believe in equality and that everyone has the right to enjoy sport.
That right – and many others – has been taken away for women in Afghanistan. This cannot be ignored!
🎥: @snkrfrkrmag #letsplayanequalgame #unbreakabletogether pic.twitter.com/hQ3hCim1hg
The sportswear brand is keen to help re-establish the team out in Australia, providing them with a new opportunity but also keeping their identity as the official national women’s team of Afghanistan.
“There’s no doubt that these women are extremely proud of their country,” said hummel CEO Allan Vad Nielsen. “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.”