Football: player Nadia Nadim shines with PSG, far from his original Afghanistan

The PSG women’s team is counting on a striker this season with an atypical career, Nadia Nadim, whose family was forced to flee Afghanistan years ago. She is one of the weapons attacked by the Parisian formation that will face Olympique Lyonnais on Wednesday in the semi-finals of the Champions League.

Nadia Nadim’s first memory of football goes back to Afghanistan, in the family home with her sisters. “It was our father who introduced us to football. He gave us our first ball. We played at the farm house out of sight,” Nadia Nadim told France 24 in November 2019, a few weeks after his arrival in the women’s team in Paris Saint-Germain (PSG).

Unfortunately, his father, the general of the Afghan army, could not take part in Nadia’s evaluations. “My father was murdered by the Taliban when they took power [en 1996]. Therefore, we decided with my mother and my four sisters to leave the country to look for a better future, explains the player, now 32 years old.

After staying in Pakistan, Italy and England, they arrive in Europe and put their suitcases in Denmark, in a refugee camp. Nadia Nadim was then about ten years old and she had a devouring passion for football. Her host country offers her the opportunity to practice this sport and she signs a first license in a club in Ålborg in northern Denmark. “Suddenly there was no more war. Everything was so normal, everyone had so much fun. I felt that the game brought so much joy to all players and that I really wanted to be a part of it,” Nadia Nadim told InfoMigrants 2019 The Great Features and the determination of this striker allows her to become a professional. Since 2009, she became the first player of foreign origin to join the women’s national team, a few months after receiving a Danish passport. Spotted across the Atlantic, she played for four seasons in the US and then returned to Europe in 2017, playing for Manchester City before joining PSG at the start of the 2019/2020 season.

Medical student

Throughout her career, Nadia Nadim, who defines herself as a “world citizen” on her Twitter account, has committed against racism and women’s rights. It was also awarded in July 2019 the title “UNESCO Champion for Girls’ and Women’s Education”, in recognition in particular of “its role in the promotion of sport and gender equality, of its contribution to UNESCO’s education measures for young people” As Nadia Nadim, also ambassador for the Danish Refugee Council, not only shone on the football pitches: she also started studying medicine in Denmark and has run them for several years in parallel with her playing career with the goal of becoming a surgeon.

She told about her journey as a refugee and detailed her commitments in an autobiography published in 2018 in Denmark, “Ma vie”, which will be available in French early next year. A difficult story during which she could create a solid character and gain a special place with her teammates. “She wants to share this to make young players understand that what they are doing is wonderful, so that they become aware of it,” he said. explained to France 24 his coach at PSG, Olivier Echouafni.

On Wednesday 26 August, against Olympique Lyonnais in the Champions League, the experienced Nadia Nadim will have a decisive role to play. Within the Parisian team that dreams of winning the club’s first Champions League. The women of PSG face their favorite rivals, who especially stole this European title from them in 2017. And Nadia Nadim, who likes to repeat “that she was lucky to have a second chance”, hopes to succeed in adding a new one. line to an already well-delivered track record.