2008 Afghan Sports News Archives

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Reports filed by Abdullah Qazi

December 9, 2008: Afghanistan Water Polo Adds Coaching Staff

The Dream of Afghanistan Athletics Press Release

After a search that produced applications from high-profile coaches from around the world, Afghanistan Water Polo has announced the addition of two Southern California-based coaches to its staff:

Bahram Hojreh

Bahram Hojreh, of Long Beach, CA, brings a winning history as a coach and player to Afghanistan Water Polo. Currently head coach and director of Los Al Water Polo, in Los Alamitos, CA, Hojreh has previously led successful water polo programs at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, CA, where he was the head coach for the men’s team, and at University High School in Irvine, CA, where he led women’s water polo.

As a coach, Hojreh’s teams have won six national championships and have produced over 100 All-Americans.

As a player, Hojreh played water polo for legendary coach Ted Newland at the University of California - Irvine, where the team produced national top-4 NCAA Division 1 finishes 1994–1998. Hojreh continues to play for the Adult Masters / Premier team at Los Al Water Polo.

Hojreh earned a BA from the University of California - Irvine, in 1999 and a MA in Kinesiology from California State University - Long Beach, in 2005.

Amr Soli

Amr Soli, of La Mesa, CA, has been coaching water polo for over 20 years. Soli is currently president and head coach of the San Diego Suns water polo club in La Mesa, and has coached at San Diego Mesa College and American University, where he led his teams to several championship appearances, including first place finishes in the Pacific Coast Conference, Lebanese League and Egyptian League.

Before moving to the United States in 2000, Soli played water polo in Europe, qualifying for the World Cup in Barcelona, Spain, in 1986. Soli brings his international experience and recognized ability to inspire athletes to attain high competitive levels to Afghanistan Water Polo.

“Bahram and Amr were selected because they present the right fit,” said Jeremy Piasecki, executive director of Afghanistan Water Polo.

“Bahram has proven he can build a very competitive program from the ground up and bring us to a level to compete internationally. And Amr has tremendous experience and the ability to coach novice athletes to a high level of play,” continued Piasecki. “Most importantly, they both have a real passion to build this program. We feel very fortunate to have them.”

Recently sanctioned by the Afghanistan National Olympic Committee, Afghanistan Water Polo was created to develop and promote the oldest team sport in the modern Olympics in a country where sports take a distant place behind the realities of war. With an ultimate goal of sending an Afghanistan national water polo team to the 2016 Summer Olympics, Afghanistan Water Polo is busy developing quality programs to establish Afghanistan’s presence on the international stage.

Afghanistan Water Polo plans to bring teams to the United States to train and compete in early 2009.

Afghanistan Water Polo relies heavily on volunteers and donors. For further information, or to find out how you can help, contact Afghanistan Olympic Dream at 760-451-1783, or e-mail at contactus@afghanistanolympicdream.com

December 7, 2008: Afghans win Homeless World Cup

In front of 5,000 screaming fans in Australia today, Afghanistan won the Homeless World Cup by outscoring Russia in the final game with a score of 5-4. The Homeless World Cup, a brainchild of Scottish entrepreneur Mel Young, is an annual, international football (soccer) tournament. Currently it is in its sixth year. Some 500 players representing 56 nations participated this year. According to the tournament's official website, the goal of the tournament is to unite "teams of people who are homeless and excluded to take a once in a lifetime opportunity to represent their country and change their lives forever." For more on the rules, and history, check out: http://www3.homelessworldcup.org/

October 26, 2008: Afghan cricket team gets funding from the International Cricket Council

Today, as a result of their recent successes, the head of Afghanistan's Cricket Federation, Allah Daad Noori, told the British based news service, Reuters, that the International Cricket Council (ICC) has pledged to give Afghanistan's cricket team between five to six hundred thousand dollars for the coming five years. The ICC is the international governing body for cricket. Afghanistan went undefeated in two World Cup qualifying tournaments this year, the second of which was the ICC World Cricket League Division 4 in Tanzania, where they secured a place in the Division 3 competition in Argentina in January 2009.

October 11, 2008: Afghans another step closer to the 2011 Cricket World Cup

Afghanistan defeated Hong Kong today and got their fifth consecutive win in the World Cricket League Division Four games. Hong Kong is now 4 and 1. The top two finishers of this division will move on to a six-team World Cricket League Division 3 in Argentina in January 2009. After that, the top two teams will join 10 more countries in the United Arab Emirates to play off for four berths in the 2011 World Cup. The World Cup will be jointly hosted by Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, and Sri Lanka. Allah Daad Noori, Afghanistan's Cricket Federation President has been very supportive of the team. After their win over Fiji on October 5th, he called the team to congratulate them and give each player $200 US.

September 24, 2008: A New Sport Comes to Afghanistan

Grab a newspaper or browse through your favorite international news web site and you will find plenty of bad news coming from Afghanistan. On any given day, you will find news about bombings, abductions, and abuse of women and children. Luckily, not all the news coming out of Afghanistan is bad, especially when it comes to sports news. Read More.

August 31, 2008: Afghan Paralympics team off to Beijing

Afghanistan's five member Paralympics delegation left for China today in order to participate in the 2008 Beijing Paralympics games.  The Paralympics are elite sport events for athletes from six different disability groups. The Paralympics are usually held after the Olympics and so this year, it will be from September 6th to September 15th. The Paralympic Games are governed by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC). The official sponsor of this year's Afghan Paralympics delegation is the Alokozay Foundation.

August 28, 2008: Rohullah Nikpai Receives Hero Welcome

Rohullah Nikpai, the first Afghan to win a medal in the Olympic games was given a red carpet welcome today (August 28, 2008). Nikpai was greeted at the airport by vice president Karim Khalili. He was then driven from the airport to Afghanistan's national stadium in Kabul where he was greeted by a crowd of 5,000 cheering fans. The crowd chanted slogans such as "Nikpai, the pride of Afghanistan", and "Long live Afghanistan". Vice president Khalili stated that "it is a matter of pride for all of us, for the government and the people of Afghanistan that this war-ravaged country was able to win a medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games". The event was even broadcasted on state television. After winning his medal, Nikpai stated: "I hope this medal can be a message of peace in Afghanistan".

August 20, 2008: Afghanistan wins first ever Olympic medal

Twenty one year old Rohullah Nikpai made history today by winning Afghanistan's first Olympic medal. He defeated world champion Juan Antonio Ramos of Spain to take the bronze in the men's under 58-kilogram taekwondo competition. Nikpai even got a call from President Hamid Karzai. According to the president's spokesman, Humayun Hamidzada, President Karzai awarded Nikpai a house at the government's expense. Also, the Associated Press reported today that: "Ehsanullah Bayat, chairman of the Afghan Wireless Communication Company, earlier announced that he would award any Afghan athlete who won an Olympic bronze $10,000, along with $50,000 for a gold medal and $25,000 for a silver, said Khalid Andisha, a spokesman for AWCC."

August 16, 2008: Kabul-Jalalabad cycle race

Pajhwok Afghan News (PAN) reported on Friday, August 15th that Afghanistan's first-ever Kabul-Jalalabad cycle race (also known as the Ghazi Amanullah Khan Cycle Race) began.  An official of Afghanistan's Olympic Committee said that the race will be 147 kilometers, and that it would begin from the Istiqlal monument in the Pul-i-Mahmud Khan area of Kabul and end in the capital of Nangarhar province (Jalalabad). Etisalat, one of the largest telecommunications companies in the world is the sponsor of the event.  Around 150 cyclists are taking part in the race.


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