Khalida Popal on the fight for Afghanistan’s national team to play football again

With just over a week to go until International Women’s Day, we wanted to welcome a truly inspirational woman in football onto the podcast.

Khalida Popal is the former captain of the Afghan women’s national team. In fact, if it wasn’t for her, the team would never have been formed back in 2007. And if it wasn’t for her, the current squad would never have escaped Kabul when the Taliban regained power in August 2021.

Now, Khalida faces a new battle with football’s authorities. With the Taliban’s ban on women’s sport, FIFA are refusing to recognise the Afghan team. Rachel speaks to Khalida all about that, the long journey to this point, and why football in particular is such a powerful tool for female empowerment.

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