Building Foundations: Football in Afghanistan — Part I

Afghan youths play football in front of
“Part I: Crumbling Foundations. ‘LT! Did you see last night? Barcelona FOUR to ZERO against AC Milan! Messi with 2, Villa and Alba all scored. Iniesta said they would win and they did!’ This is what my interpreter, Johnny, said after Barcelona’s 4-0 win at the Nou Camp against AC Milan to overturn a 2-0 first leg deficit in the 2012-13 edition of the Champions League. Johnny isn’t his real name of course. He’s an Afghan national working for International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) soldiers in Afghanistan as a linguist. He was assigned to my platoon during my deployment to Operation Enduring Freedom 13. Champions League football can seem very distant from a Forward Operating Base in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, but for Johnny that night, he was in the Nou Camp. For him however, football, and in particular Barcelona, is his escape from the harsh realities of his home. And for many Afghans, the same is true. Football is their oasis.” Outside of the Boot – Part I, Part II, Part III

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