During the Taliban regime the AFF Stadium in Kabul was not a place for joy and football enthusiasts, but a venue for death. This was the place where even small crimes were brutally punished and public executions were conducted as to warn the Afghan spectators of the power of Taliban.
By the 1990s, football was effectively extinguished by the Taliban, leaving the Afghan people with no hope for evading the violence, they witnessed every day, for a harmless moment with sport.
Nevertheless, through 35 years of war and violence in Afghanistan, the country and its people never gave up their enthusiasm for football, and with the fall of the Taliban the opportunity for men and women to reignite and pursue their passion for the sport arose.
hummel wants to support and cultivate this passion, as football serves as a very natural way to unite the people of a war-torn country and to develop the community and sustainable future in Afghanistan. Read more about all our activities in Afghanistan below:
Uniting as one nation!
As part of the “Change the World through Sports” mission in hummel, the company began to sponsor the men’s and women’s national football teams in Afghanistan in 2010. In 2015, hummel prolonged its partnership with 4 years.
Currently ranked respectively 186th and 124th by FIFA, the Afghanistan men’s and women’s team are not likely to win the world cup trophy any time soon. Instead of focusing merely on results, hummel considers their dedication to football and great team spirit as characteristics that harmonize with hummel’s values, and their will to go beyond and above in order to play the game they love is certainly worth recognizing.
In September 2013, years of dedication from the Afghan Football Federation and hard work of the Afghan national players culminated in a great victory, as the national team managed to play their way to Afghanistan's first international title, namely the South Asian Championship. The victory was a historic moment for all Afghans, who were celebrating in the streets of Kabul for days.
Watch the video to get a small insight into the happiness and celebrations the victory triggered.
The struggle for a better future!
In Afghanistan, women don’t have equal educational opportunities, nor do they have the possibility to independently pursue their goals or dreams. Football gives the women of Afghanistan the chance to build confidence and independence. This leads to a quality of life previously unknown to them. With football as a tool, Afghan women have taken charge of their future and sent a clear message to fellow Afghans and to the rest of the world; Afghanistan can have a better and brighter future.
hummel supports the Afghan women’s path into the world of football as well as their struggle for equal rights. Sponsorships and aid are just part of this dedication. More importantly, hummel gives them a voice and promote their fight for a better future through football, and it is the hope that hummel, in this way, can help them and Afghanistan forward.
The Afghan women’s national football team has since the NATO match continued their efforts towards more victories, and on the 16th of February, 2012 they celebrated their first official international victory, which was a 2-0 win against Qatar. We hope that there will be many more victories for these women in the future – both on the field and in their homes.
You can meet some of the female players and listen to comments about the match and the future of football in Afghanistan by watching the film made by Emilie Ladefoged.
The Afghan Premier League
Following the success of the national teams as frontrunners for unifying the country, hummel decided to increase its engagement and help build and sponsor the first professional football tournament in Afghanistan in 2012; The Afghan Premier League. This project instantly caught the attention of the Afghan people, and ever since the start, several million Afghans have been glued to their screens during the matches.
From the very beginning, hummel found this to be a wonderful project. As the only foreign sponsor of the eight Afghan Premier League teams, hummel has provided the teams with all the necessary equipment they need, and the Afghan Premier League has now become a successful reality.
Football has a central place in the hearts of the Afghan people, and the Afghan Premier League helps uniting a population that, in the past, has fought and killed each other. The Afghan people are now more than ready to let the past be past and move on into a hopefully more peaceful era.
Therefore, hummel and the Afghan Football Federation work together in creating better conditions for football in the country and helping people realize that sports can be used as a tool for social change and social impact. Through PR and events, hummel has raised awareness and attention to the development and social change in Afghanistan from the world press, including BBC, CBS, CNN, The Times and many many more.
hummel sponsored the APL until the end of 2014 and has been overly glad to be able to help the Afghan Premier League with the positive attention and focus it deserves.
Film by Emilie Ladefoged
The NATO Match
On the 29th of October 2010, hummel, NATO and the Afghan Football Federation arranged a friendly match between the stationed troops in Kabul and the Afghan women’s national football team.
The match became a symbol of hope for the women of Afghanistan, who have outlived violence and ruthless oppression through several decades. Demonstrating the improvement of women’s rights in Afghanistan, the game was played by a proud and fearless group of Afghan women, who despite having been harassed and threatened by their countrymen for playing a ‘man’s sport’, turned years of oppression into a 1-0 victory.
The match was also a way of bringing the situation in Afghanistan to the attention of the whole world. For the Afghan women’s team captain, Khalida Popal, the match sent an important signal to both the outside world and people in Afghanistan:
“The match was very important to us," she said, "because it shows the world that there are Afghans who are against war and in favour of peace and happiness. And we want to make it clear to all the women of Afghanistan that they are both able and at liberty to play football now."
Open Fun Football Schools
In order to secure sustainable development and commitment to the next generation in Afghanistan, hummel has together with the football organization Cross Cultures Project Association (CCPA) endeavored in establishing football schools for children in Afghanistan.
In August 2012 the first pilot school took place in Kabul. The Open Fun Football Schools days in Kabul went beyond expectations. Uniting 159 boys, 41 girls and 25 male and female coaches from 7 provinces, the Open Fun Football School was a place of dedicated training, youth power and smiles, and it created a very good foundation to build the future program on.
The days with football also enjoyed good media attention from, among others, TOLO TV, TV3 and Voice of America, thereby securing both national and international focus on the development of Afghan football and the country in general.
The experience of the pilot surely showed that football, and the common language of sport, can be used for peace-building and civil society development by fostering dialogue and teamwork between different ethnic groups. This will hopefully transcend to a national level.
Football is a remarkable tool when it comes to inspiring young people to open their horizons and keep them away from trouble and violence. CCPA and hummel are therefore eager to continue and increase their work with the children and in this way cultivate the future of Afghanistan
Promoting the Cause
The popularity of football is rapidly increasing in Afghanistan and it has given the afghan people hope for a brighter future. Therefore hummel and the Afghan Football Federation (AFF) work together in creating better conditions for football in the country and helping people realise that sports can be used as a tool for social change and social impact.
hummel has promoted AFF's fight for creating better conditions for football in the country. Through PR and events hummel has raised awareness and attention in the world press about the social change football has brought to Afghanistan.
The sponsorship has been mentioned by BBC, CBS, CNN, Al Jazeera, ABC, RTL, The Times, Sportweek, Danish national television and other local, regional and international media. Below are some of the stories that the media has brought:
After the fall of the Taliban regime, the people of Afghanistan could once again resume their passion for football in the free.