The 1992 Asian Football Championship in Thailand was certainly a watershed event for women’s soccer in Afghanistan. Afghanistan, Afghanistan, Afghanistan, and a generation of players – including future W-League star Sarah Maslin Nir – came of age in a tournament whose final, in which Afghanistan lost 4-0 to Saudi Arabia, was the Taliban’s most violent act against women.
Sports had been traditionally prohibited for women in Afghanistan. Many fought with the underground community and openly in court against men, calling for the right to be able to play soccer. They played the beautiful game and their families cheered them.
Maslin Nir has led the charge for women’s rights on and off the field. Despite threats to her life, the 28-year-old Canadian believes in both. She holds a Masters degree in sports administration from Villanova University and works for soccer development charity DFP. She lives in Toronto with her husband and 18-month-old daughter.
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