Danish sportswear company Hummel has designed a soccer jersey with a hijab for the Afghan women’s team so they can play the game while observing their faith.
The design also includes leggings.
“This jersey is the Afghani team uniform and I am proud to be a role model for thousands of young girls and women back home in Afghanistan,” stated Khalida Popal, the team’s former captain. “It is very special to me. It is our identity.”
— Khaama Press (KP) (@khaama) March 8, 2016
“Football was not easy for us to play, especially in a male-dominated country,” continued Popal. “It was not acceptable for women to play. Football is a man’s game.”
— Clare Connor (@ConnorCricket) March 8, 2016
If women do play, they must “wear a headscarf,” which falls over their eyes.
“So we thought of this solution, the sports hijab that is part of the whole package we made for the Afghan Football Federation,” explained Hummel owner Christian Stadil. “We wanted to make one that is cool and fashionable.”
Popal left Afghanistan in 2011 at 23-years-old after she received death threats for standing up for women’s rights.
“I faced so many death threats and warnings that I had to stop my activities for women – otherwise, they said they would kill me and my family,” she told People magazine.
She fled to Denmark with her family and found sanctuary at an asylum camp.
“You feel so alone and so unhappy in an asylum camp,” she said. “The women there didn’t have any opportunities, so I encouraged them to come fight their stress and depression by playing soccer.”