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Afghanistan Celebrates Cricket World Cup Qualification

Sharjah-15:47GMT, Friday 04 October 2013
Afghan_Cricket

Celebrations have taken place across Afghanistan after its cricketers qualified for the first time for the World Cup, to be held in 2015.
The team beat Kenya by seven wickets on Friday in their final qualifying match in Sharjah.
More than 1,000 overjoyed fans watched their convincing victory on a giant screen in a stadium in Kabul before taking to the streets in celebration.
There were similar outpourings of joy in most other major cities.
Parts of the southern city of Kandahar ground to a halt as fans celebrated the win in public places.
Skipper and all-rounder Mohammad Nabi described the win as "a gift to a young generation".
Jubilant coach Kabir Khan, a former Pakistan test cricketer, described the victory as the best day of his coaching life.
They reached a target of 94 to finish second behind Ireland in the World Cricket League and will be in England's group at the 2015 Cricket World Cup, which is being held in Australia and New Zealand.
Their first match in the competition will be against Bangladesh in Canberra on 18 February 2015 and they will also face Sri Lanka, Australia and New Zealand before taking on England in Sydney on 13 March.
Needing a win to move above the United Arab Emirates and the Netherlands, Afghanistan bowled Kenya out for 93, with only Morris Ouma and Rakep Patel reaching double figures.

AFG_Team

Skipper Nabi was playing in his 27th one-day international and steered his team to victory with an unbeaten 46 that featured three fours and two sixes.
In the 20th over, the 28-year-old thumped a six over long-on and in the next dispatched slow left-armer Shem Ngoche out of the ground. He struck the historic winning runs two balls later with a four through mid-wicket.
"I can't express my feelings," Nabi said. "It is a very big day in my life. I'm sure there will be huge celebrations back home. I'm happy for the people of Afghanistan and look forward to playing in Australia and New Zealand."
Coach Kabir Khan said: "I had very few great and memorable days in my life and this is right up there. It has been a dream for so many years and now we have achieved it.
"There will be tremendous atmosphere in Afghanistan and I'm so happy for them. This year they'll get two Eids [Muslim holidays] to celebrate."
Fans took to the streets of Kabul after the win and could hardly contain their excitement when speaking to the news channels.
"We have big plans for tonight," said supporter Aziz Wali Ahmadzai.
"We are going out with around 100 cars and will join other people who want to celebrate."
Another fan, Wahidullah Mihakhail, said that the victory had provided Afghanistan with something that no politician or militant could: "unity to a nation that has had too many years of war."
The growth of cricket in Afghanistan is a remarkable story. The country has moved from virtually no involvement in the game to a good level of international success in only 10 years. The Asian Cricket Council (ACC) has described Afghanistan as a Rising Star of Asian Cricket. The International Cricket Council (ICC) has said:
 “Afghanistan can now rightly consider itself as one of the leading Associate Nations.”
At the moment the game is the fastest growing sport in the country, has captured the hearts and minds of a huge percentage of the population, and interest and participation continue to experience spiraling growth as the National Team adds success to success. These successes have also captured the imaginations of the international cricketing world and the World media, and the battle of the young players with little or no support and infrastructure, often against almost insurmountable odds, is a story being told and retold repeatedly.
The majority of the actors in this fascinating story are youthful Afghans from poor families who grew up in refugee camps or small villages; some had rarely been outside their villages until they began playing cricket. The one common factor among all of  them was their passion for cricket and their dream of Playing the game at the international level and here they are, going for the World Cup 2015.

Afghanistan Wins First International Football Title

16:56 GMT, Wednesday 11 September 2013
AFG_Football

It was Afghanistan's maiden victory in the South Asian Federation Championship, compared to friendly country, India who has won the event six times.

Afghans shocked India winning its first international football trophy, beating India 2-0 in the South Asian Football Federation Championship final.

Millions of Afghans watched as their side made football history. Afghans gathered in homes, restaurants, offices and even small markets to watch the game and dance, celebrating their victory in the Sout Asian Federation Championship.

The match has been the only news here and social media is awash with comments and Afghan players are described as heroes bringing happiness to a country which has seen so much war.

The Afghan team unites the country's ethnic groups - and Pashtuns, Tajiks, Uzbeks and Hazaras were all praying for victory. A delegation which included three ministers and government officials was in Nepal to support their players.

President Hamid Karzai's office tweeted a photo of him watching the players celebrate their win. Afghan President, congratulated and hugged Afghan football players upon their arrival at Kabul International Airport.

AF_Victory

The Afghans, who were a founding member of the Asian Football Confederation in 1954, have a long football history but only recently re-emerged on the world scene after decades of war and insurgency.

Although Afghanistan has never played at the World Cup, or even at the Asian Cup. But the country has been getting better in recent years, rising up the FIFA rankings to No 139 on the latest list while India, is ranked 145th.

Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Maldives and host Nepal were the other teams to take part in the tournament, which is held every two years.

 



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