Pakistan welcomes Afghan women to championship

The 15 local teams participating in the Pakistan Women’s Football Championship in Islamabad (16-24 August) are set to welcome the Afghanistan women's national team. “It will be historic because Afghan women competing in Pakistan will be great for the relationship of these two countries,” Pakistan Football Federation spokesman Akbar Wahidi told AFP. "The team’s involvement “will promote football on either side of the border,” he added. Both Pakistan and Afghanistan are fledgling nations in women’s football. The Pakistani women’s only international exposure was in May 2006 when they featured in an event in Amman, Jordan.

Afghan women players follow a stricter dress code than their Pakistani counterparts. In addition to wearing long trousers like the Pakistani women, Afghan players also wear baseball caps covering their hair. Football is fast regaining its popularity in war-ravaged Afghanistan after suffering badly under the Taliban regime, Afghan coach Walizada said. “We have very good women footballers of international standard and we hope they will do very well in the future. Football has regained its popularity and it will go further up. The government is trying to break social taboos in sport, especially women’s sport, imposed by the former Taliban regime.”