Former PSG striker Nadia Nadim: “I am everything the Taliban hate”

Nadia Nadim, a former Afghan refugee who has become a Danish international, is at the heart of a film coming out this week.

An intense period for Nadia Nadim, 33 years old. The new Racing Louisville striker (United States), who left PSG after winning the French championship in June, had knee surgery last week. On Wednesday, Canal + will broadcast a documentary by Anissa Bonnefont (Wonder Boy) recounting her fight to return to Afghanistan in order to mourn her father who was killed in 2000 by the Taliban; Nadia will also be released in theaters. All in a context summoning the ghosts of the past …

The documentary comes out as the Taliban returns to power. How do you live this telescoping?
It’s so sad. I thought this chapter was closed, not to witness it again. People fleeing the country, girls who are prevented from going to school… It’s very disturbing. For me because I couldn’t come back. But above all for all that it portends for the Afghan people. Four or five days to conquer the country, it’s so surreal. Frankly, I still can’t believe this all exists for real.

Do you have any news from your TV host Aunt Aryana who is seen in the film?

She left the country but we were very scared. She was due to leave with the last flight from Kabul, but the airport was stormed and it was canceled. We were in contact with her. If she had been captured, they would have tortured and killed her. She went into hiding and then presented herself at the US military base the next day. An hour later, she was on a Hercules plane bound for Qatar. I no longer have any close family there, but those I know are trying to survive.

Pressure must be put on them by sanctioning them, by banning them from all international events

You represent everything the Taliban hates. Are you worried about being a target?

I don’t think they can get to me while I’m here. But, yeah, I’m the description of what they don’t want a girl to be. I go against everything they stand for. I am everything the Taliban hate in women: I am educated, I say what I think, I wear what I want, I play sports… I am a human being, in fact. All these things, which are positive elsewhere, represent a danger for them. I do not understand it. What’s wrong with a working woman? do sports? go to school? This is insane. What’s the point of covering up with what looks like a sack of potatoes?

Many athletes have left the country. Do you fear for those who remain?

Let’s say everyone is going to keep a low profile and no one will play sports. Because the consequences are known. So take away some of your freedom and your rights, and that’s what I’m most afraid of.

Should Afghanistan be banned from international competitions if women are not allowed to play sports?

You have to hit hard, make them understand that nowadays everything you do is watched by billions of people. The times have changed. There are smartphones, social networks… We must put pressure on them by sanctioning them, by banning them from all international events. I hope it will be done. Fifa and the IOC, for example, have greater power than one can imagine. It could shake things up.

Hopefully I’ll be a doctor early next year

At PSG, did you discuss what you went through with your teammates?

With some, yes. But I don’t think everyone understood where I came from. I gave them my book and there are a lot of articles, so if they don’t understand, they can still watch the movie. My story and what is behind it tells of the contrast between what I had to face as a child and what I am today. It shows what we can become if we give you a chance.

You want to become a reconstructive surgeon. How much does your education affect your career?

When we have so many ambitions in the medical sector, it weighs. I want to play as long as I like it and feel useful on the pitch. But I will still have to say stop one day because I have a lot of goals. If I want to be a doctor, I have to be 100% focused on it. If all goes well, I will be early next year. I am very proud of it. It is one of the greatest accomplishments of my life. I work really, really hard for this.

Is it harder than winning the title with PSG?

Much more, believe me. It took me two and a half years to win the championship with Paris, and eight to finish my studies.

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