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A daughter’s dream - A father’s passion

Copyrights: Atlas FC

A daughter’s dream - A father’s passion

Naweed Kawusi shares a short story of the Atlas Football Club.

Imagine having an eight-year-old daughter who is mad crazy about football and has inherited your own unflinching persistence in getting what she wants? She will play football in a team no matter what. Now that sounds easy in any other part of the world but in Afghanistan, it’s not as easy to find a girl’s football club.

Like any other dad, determined to win the least amount of affection from a rebellious and over-intelligent eight-year old daughter, I began looking up football teams and clubs in town. The result was clear: I had to disappoint my little girl, for there were no such clubs available.  After a while, I had an epiphany! What if I started my own club? A club for kids the age of my girl that offered safety, security and a good standard of football. The journey was nothing like I had imagined. It was a long walk filled with missteps, potholes, and trial by fire to learn to manage a football club in a city like Kabul. It took me six months to just process the paperwork required to purchase the club rights and change the name to one that stood out: Atlas Football Club.

I must say, I have been a fan of football for decades, but the moment I signed the paperwork at the Afghanistan Football Federation was when I realised that unknowingly I might have changed the course of my life. For the first time in my life with many years of experience working for all sorts of companies, NGOs, agencies and government, I had suddenly found my calling in life.  I had suddenly realized that waking up early in the morning to work for Atlas or sleeping late at 3 a.m. weren’t making me tired at all, but rather I had more energy than ever before. Like the old saying goes “it is not work if you love doing it.”

The club looked promising after I established it. From a team of girls sporadically playing football whenever there was a tournament, the team turned into a properly set-up club with different age groups and teams of boys and girls that met the requirements of a proper football club anywhere in the world.  The club has its own academy to discover, develop, and deliver further footballing talents.

As it stands, the club currently has a roster of 275 players of both girls and boys across its teams and the academy with the ages ranging from 6 to 24 years old and it is safe to say that playing football has not only improved their skills on the ball but also their self-confidence, social skills and ability to think critically through Atlas’ theoretical and practical development programmes. And all this has happened in a period of 20 months. The Club currently employs 12 coaches has over 21 national team players of girls and boys from different age groups in its ranks and boasts an impressive two championships in the last four tournaments held since January 2017, finishing 2nd and 3rd in the remaining two.

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Naweed Kawusi


Thursday, September 27, 2018 - 15:48