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Refugee Camp To International Football: Danish Player Nadia’s Incredible Journey

Refugee Camp To International Football: Danish Player Nadia’s Incredible Journey

Nadia’s father was killed by Taliban militants when she was only 11.

“I’m only 32 but I feel like I’ve experienced a lot more, like 200 years of life, in bad ways and good ways,” Nadia Nadim told The Guardian in early 2020.

It is no secret in women’s football that Nadia has been a fighter all her life and many derive inspiration from her. But her story is still somewhat unknown outside the women’s game.

Born in the Afghan city of Herat, instead of studying and spending time with friends, she saw herself being stopped from going to school and later saw her father murdered at the hands of Taliban when she was just 11.

As a result, Nadia and her family, which included her mother and four sisters, fled to neighbouring country Pakistan.  Due to unforeseen circumstances, the family had to again shift base, this time to Europe.

The decision of London being their best bet was due to the presence of some relatives in the country. However, the truck which they thought was taking them to England’s capital actually took them to the Nordic country of Denmark.

As Afghan refugees, things weren’t easy. But Nadia didn’t care one bit when she realized what her true calling was for football.

That’s how her life took a positive turn. She found hope and solace in football more than anything. Nadia started her professional career as a footballer in 2009 for Danish club B52 Aalbor. She then went on to represent her adopted country Denmark at the international stage.

She has gone a full circle and played in different clubs in cities such as New Jersey, Portland, Manchester and now Paris. “When I have time to reflect, I’m like ‘Holy shit!” she says. “I don’t think many people can say they’ve experienced all this in their entire lifetime.”

She’s an all-action woman, who is now pursuing to be a professional surgeon, when her football career comes to a close.

In 2018, Forbes ranked her Number 20 in their “Most Powerful Women in International Sports." And very few people can have arguments about it. She’s an inspiration not just to women but to society as a whole.

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