Sergeant Yvette Kemp, an Army ambassador for women’s football has been inspiring Afghan women to play the beautiful game.
Sergeant Kemp, 33, from Gloucestershire, in conjunction with Chelsea FC Women, the British Embassy in Kabul and the Afghan Football Association, organised a training event with aspiring Afghan female football players.
“I don’t see why these girls shouldn’t have the same opportunities to play football that I enjoyed’, said Sergeant Kemp. “No matter what country it’s in, I want women’s football to have the highest profile possible.”
Chelsea FC Women have generously provided over £4000 of women’s and youth football kit and equipment, for events such as this to promote women’s football in Kabul.
“It doesn’t matter what language you speak, everyone understands football,” said Sergeant Kemp, “Hopefully seeing us conduct these sorts of events shows that the British Army is here in Kabul to make a positive impact – and we can really see how happy it makes these girls.”
Having played football since the age of 7, Sergeant Kemp represented Gloucester City Ladies FC from 1999 to 2015, and then Swindon Town Ladies FC from 2016 to 2017. In 2008, she joined the Army as a Vehicle Mechanic in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, before transferring to the Royal Army Physical Training Corps. She has played football as part of the Army women’s team since 2009.
Sergeant Kemp is deployed to Kabul as a physical training instructor at the Afghan National Army Officers’ Academy. Her main role is to mentor Afghan female physical training instructor Bridmals (Sergeants), and she takes the lead on training female Officer Cadets at the academy on physical training sessions.
“I really enjoy my role here – I start every session with a presentation on what physical training is, why we do it, what I expect from them and what they can expect from me. The Afghan Officer Cadets work really hard – they want to get fit and they want to compete with their male counterparts”, said Sergeant Kemp.
Since UK combat operations ended in 2014, the UK has contributed to the NATO led, 41 nation, Resolute Support Mission, which seeks to improve the capacity of Afghan national defence and security institutions through training, advising and assisting them.