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  • Two Roads
  • John Murray
  • John Murray

My Beautiful Sisters: A Story of Courage, Hope and the Afghan Women s Football Team

Khalida Popal

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Afghanistan, Memoirs, Ball games

A story of sisterhood and the fight for feminism in the age of the Taliban by exiled former team captain of the Afghanistan women's national football team

'Riveting, heart-wrenching and incredibly important... an inspirational story for girls and women everywhere' MALALA YOUSAFZAI, Nobel Peace Prize laureate

A story of sisterhood and the fight for feminism in the age of the Taliban.

August, 2021: Kabul falls to the Taliban.

Overnight, life for women across Afghanistan changes.

The national women's football team faces an imminent threat to their lives, just for playing sport.

For Khalida Popal, the team's first captain and co-founder, this is not an unprecedented event. Born in Afghanistan, she fled Taliban rule as a child with her family and grew up in a refugee camp in Pakistan. On her return to Afghanistan, football gave her and her teammates power, comradeship and freedom. But advocating for women's rights in sport put Popal's life increasingly at risk, forcing her to flee the country, this time alone.

As a refugee in Denmark, Popal worked to uncover widespread sexual abuse of players by the former president of the Afghanistan Football Federation - forcing FIFA and the government of Afghanistan to act. When Kabul falls Khalida is safe, but her teammates are left behind. Against all the odds, she and a small but mighty network of allies orchestrate an international evacuation strategy to save them.

My Beautiful Sisters is a gripping memoir about courage, the power of teamwork against all odds and the existence of hope in dark times.

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