Thursday, April 29, 2010

"They are coming to be on my team. They listen to me.'

For Yasameen and Raziea Rasoul, the whole thing began more or less as a lark. The next thing they knew they were international celebrities, greeting U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at Kabul Airport, having lunch with ambassadors, and entertaining visiting journalists. The world moved on, but something unexpected happened along the way.

Yasameen and Raziea fell in love with soccer. Soccer fell in love with them. Nowadays, the Rasoul sisters are playing out their parts in a cultural revolution that's quietly transforming Afghanistan. Yasameen, 19, is the star forward of the Afghan national women's soccer team. Her 18-year-old sister Raziea, a midfielder, is the team's captain. Yasameen is also the coach of the Kabul Tornadoes. It's a boy's team.

The big story about Yasameen and Raziea is far from over, and the place it really begins is in a bombed-out neighbourhood of Kabul a short walk from the once-glorious 16th-century Babur Gardens, in the shadow of Sher-e-Darwaza Mountain. . .

. . .from the latest in the series.


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