Refugee Week 2021 takes place from June 20-26, and this year’s theme is unity. Football Australia is celebrating Refugee Week and our world game that unites us all.
Can you introduce yourself and tell us about your personal story and your football life?
I am Madina Ali, born in Afghanistan and I am currently 15 years old. I started playing soccer in 2017 for Hampton Park United Sparrows U12. From then on, I’ve continued playing for multiple teams. Currently I am playing for Box Hill United U17s (National Premier Leagues).
I didn’t play football before coming to Australia. I had to leave my homeland because of wars, to get a better education and have freedom. In my country men have freedom. However women in Afghanistan don’t have much freedom, such as being able to finish school, go out alone, and other simple things that we are allowed here in Australia that women are not allowed in Afghanistan.
I want to achieve my goals. One of them is to become a national soccer player and to one day be able to play for the Australia’s national team. I support the Matildas, the USA women’s national team and Melbourne Victory.
What did you try to show with the photos? Was there any wider meaning with the photos?
The people are two of my brothers and a group of friends that I usually play soccer with at school. There are photos taken at school, home, and at AAMI Park. There are photos from the Melbourne Victory program with a group of friends from my school who I usually play soccer with.
It doesn’t matter who you are and where you are from in the world of soccer. I tried to show soccer means a lot to me personally. Four of my siblings play soccer too.
Can you tell us the personal story of anyone else in the photographs?
My older brother Nusrat is who I have played soccer the most with.
Why is football important to you and your community?
Soccer is important to me because it’s a sport that keeps me healthy and takes my problems away. Soccer is important in my community because most of the teenagers in the community also play soccer and the community supports us all.
What are the opportunities for female players in Australia?
There is a lot of opportunities for female soccer players for getting scouted by academies and other teams.
Do you play football now with any Australian people? How do you find the Australian people?
I personally don’t see any differences playing with different people. Australia’s people are very accepting and easy to communicate with.
What role has Melbourne Victory and their football programmes played in your life in Australia?
The programmes have made my holidays something to look forward to and I enjoy having the opportunity to play soccer with different players. The best day of the week is usually the day we have the after-school Melbourne Victory program.