Nadia Nadim: the refugee who became a Danish footballing role model

The Local Denmark
The Local Denmark - [email protected]
Nadia Nadim: the refugee who became a Danish footballing role model
Nadia Nadim. Photo: Jerry Lampen/ANP/Scanpix

Refugee, medicine student and now international football star Nadia Nadim has been credited with being an inspiration to young Danes as the women’s national team gears up for one of the biggest matches in its history on Thursday evening.


The 29-year-old striker, who plays her league football for the Portland Thorns in the NWSL and is also studying medicine, fled to Denmark with her family after her father, a former Afghan Army general, was executed by the Taliban in 2000.

Nadim, who scored the equalising goal in Denmark’s thrilling quarter final surprise victory over six-time champions Germany, has been credited for influencing more than just Denmark’s inspirational run in the tournament.

Denmark take on Austria in Breda on Thursday evening for a place in the Euro 2017 final.

Khaterah Parwani, a Danish debator and lawyer, is one of the public voices who has paid tribute to Nadim.

Parwani, who is also of Afghan heritage, praised Nadim following the victory over Germany on Sunday.

“The match was clearly a fantastic victory for Denmark, but if you multiply the impact of the event by 1,000, you will know exactly what an incredible victory it feels like for every Afghan woman in the world, when it’s Nadia Nadim flying supernaturally and slamming the ball into the net,” Parwani wrote.

Nadim told broadcaster DR that she was aware that her achievements as a footballer could see her being perceived as a role model.

The striker said she was keen to do her best in the role.

“I think it’s a very big thing. I am very grateful to be able to inspire off the pitch. I never thought I’d be in that situation. But I think it’s great the people can see it and can use me as an example,” Nadim told the broadcaster from the training camp of Denmark’s Kvindelandsholdet (Women’s National Team) in the Netherlands.


Game day got us excited #startedfromthebottomnowwehere #stepbystep

A post shared by Nadia Nadim (@nadi9nadim) on Aug 3, 2017 at 1:09am PDT

Denmark face Austria at 6pm Thursday with the winners going on to face England or hosts the Netherlands in Sunday’s final.

READ ALSO: For Denmark, trip to women's Euro semi-finals 'not enough'




Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also