Afghan women’s team plays first game in Australia

Category: Sports


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. under (someone/something’s) banner / ˈʌn dər ˈbæn ər / (idiom) – as a part of a particular group, team, or organization

    This environmental project is under the Clean and Green Foundation’s banner.

  2. sport / spɔrt / (v.) – to wear something such as clothes or accessories, especially in a way that’s meant to get people’s attention

    The proud students sported shirts and caps with the name of their school.

  3. kit / kɪt / (n.) – clothing or equipment worn and used by a sports team

    My teammates and I are so excited because a popular brand is going to sponsor our kit this year.

  4. under threat / ˈʌn dər θrɛt / (idiom) – in a bad or dangerous situation

    Hundreds of employees are under threat after the company declared bankruptcy.

  5. qualifier / ˈkwɒl əˌfaɪ ər / (n.) – a match or game where the winning team qualifies to play in the next round or level

    We will be out of the game if we don’t win in today’s qualifier.


Read the text below.

Afghanistan’s women’s soccer team has played its first match since its evacuation from the Taliban-led country last year, helped by A-League team the Melbourne Victory.

The Melbourne Victory Afghan Women’s Team played a 0-0 draw in its opening game Sunday in Victoria’s senior women’s competition, only months after 30 players and coaches were rescued as part of an evacuation operation by the Australian government as the Taliban took back control of the country after 20 years and again placed women’s sports in jeopardy.

The Victory are providing their support to the members of the team who relocated to Melbourne. The team held its first training session in February and will play under Victory’s banner this year.

But instead of sporting Victory’s traditional navy blue with a white ‘V’, the team will wear a kit which pays homage to their homeland, a red home shirt and white away shirt with the Afghanistan flag on the back.

The shirts do not have the player’s family names on the back which the players say is to protect family members still in Afghanistan and potentially under threat from the Taliban. Instead the players have their first names or nicknames on their shirts.

The Afghan team was created in 2007, played its first official international in 2010 against Nepal and won its first match 2-0 over Qatar in 2012.

The rise of the Taliban and the subsequent escape of the players also led to the team withdrawing from qualifying matches for Women’s Asian Cup in India in February, which doubled as a qualifier for next year’s Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

This article was provided by The Associated Press.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • Do you agree with the players’ decision to play in an international competition even if there are risks to their safety? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • The athletes that escaped from Afghanistan are likely going through emotional and mental distress from their experiences. Do you think it was the right decision for their coaches to let them compete right away? What do you think can be done to help them be better prepared to compete (ex. let them undergo counseling, ease their training)? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • Since the Taliban’s takeover, women in Afghanistan have been banned to play sports again. What do you think women athletes from the country should do (ex. also find ways to play in other countries)? Do you think international sports organizations should do something about this? Why or why not? Discuss. 
  • What do you think are the challenges that women athletes face? In what ways do you think these can be resolved? Discuss.