The young woman, Nadia Nadim, was forced to flee Afghanistan at the age of twelve for Denmark, and lived a life she tells in a book called “My Story”.
“I’m glad I’m still here despite everything that’s happened to me”
With a smile on her face, Nadia, 33, is enjoying every moment of her life. She is an Afghan refugee, soccer star, medical student and former owner of a small grocery store…
A life that would please any good Hollywood screenwriter. Some may doubt the authenticity of such a life, but it is nonetheless true, as she tells it in her autobiography, My Story.
“My life is like a movie, drama, movement, suspense, and sometimes humor…”, Nadim tells the French newspaper Le Figaro in its July 4th issue.
culture and climate shocks
Nadia Nadim was born in Herat, western Afghanistan, on January 2, 1988, to the father of an Afghan army general, who “didn’t know how to separate two roles”, as she emotionally describes.
“Sometimes he acted like a general with his kids, and obviously it was really hard for us. He beat us and my mom, but I love him and I have so many beautiful memories with him too. He made me the strong woman I am today. The reasons that taught me not to give up. My relationship with him is, in a way, a summary of my life with all its positive and negative intertwining as well.”
When the Taliban seized power in the late 1990s, her father was arrested and then executed… the springboard to Europe for Nadia Nadeem, her four sisters and their mother.
Nadim’s family landed in Denmark with all its cultural and climate shocks. Today the young woman knows how much she owes this country, which gave her “a second chance at life after the Taliban stole my first life.”
Here was born her passion for football, which she actually practiced quite a bit with her father but without realizing that she could make a living from this profession.
Nadia Nadim looks back: “We were in the refugee camp, and right next to it was a wonderful stadium with a goal net.”
It was the first time you saw girls playing football. After two or three months, she was encouraged and asked to join the team, and her life completely changed.
Fight nothing stands in her way
At the age of 12, young Nadia displayed impeccable talent as well as a “warrior” mentality that nothing stands in her way, especially the racist or misogynistic prejudices she encountered afterwards.
“For a long time, I had to hide things because people had a certain opinion and discrimination about foreigners and about women playing football,” she explains.
Some accumulated her “flaws” and she did not realize how to counter this “lack of education” except by her insistence on remaining as she is and striving to give her best to reach where she desires.
The young woman never forgets where she came from: “If I had stayed in Afghanistan, I obviously wouldn’t have become a footballer. I don’t even know if I had survived, but my life surely would have been less beautiful.”
Nadia Nadim has found in football an outlet for the many difficult experiences life has put in her way. “What drew me to this sport is this sense of comfort on the field where I was only happy there.”
Football allowed her to forget her tough times and build her confidence in conjunction with nine or ten hours of training a week.
It took a long time to find a balance between her Afghan and Danish nationalities:
“I have two identities inside of me, and one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life has been finding the right balance between the two. Sometimes it’s a clash between two cultures and I’m in the middle. I don’t really know how I achieved this mixture.”
Paris Saint-Germain is a dream come true suddenly
Nadia Nadim believes that what she has experienced will be more common in a world that has become multicultural.
She loves to live in France, in Paris, where she proudly wore the colors of “Paris Saint-Germain”, and it was for her like an impossible dream that suddenly came true, for two seasons before her departure was announced a few weeks ago.
Today, Nadia Nadim no longer talks about dreams, but about goals. The young woman in her thirties wants to continue studying medicine while keeping a foot in the world of the round that somehow saved her, adding: “What is certain is that I don’t want to be imprisoned in a box again.”
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