2011 Afghan Sports News Archives

For the latest Afghan sports news, click here

Unless otherwise noted, reports filed by Abdullah Qazi

December 31, 2011: 150 cricket players get training in Herat

By Noor Ahmad Noori

Labs Sports Training Organization (LSTO) has recently provided training to 150 cricket players in Herat province.

Abdul Ghafoor, the Cricket Board Manager in Herat province said that the cricket players were taught batting, bowling and fielding.

Ghafoor appreciated the efforts of LSTO which will further develop cricket in the province; he also said that the training was for 6 days.

-- Edited by Abdullah Qazi

December 28, 2011: Helmand's governor holds special gathering for Afghanistan's national cricket team


Photo by: Noor Ahmad Noori

By Noor Ahmad Noori

Helmand's provincial governor, Mohammad Gulab Mangal, held a special gathering on December 26th for Afghanistan's national cricket team in his house. Community elders, youth, sports and political officials, as well as members of parliament were in attendance.

The governor praised the team on their successes and awarded them with certificates, medals and 300,000 afghanis in cash. He said that the team has made the whole nation proud, and he bestowed the title of "hero" on all the team members.

The captain of the team, Nawroz Mangal. and Shazadah Masood, a deputy official in the cricket board, thanked the governor for holding the event, and the people of Helmand for their warm welcome and hospitality.

-- Edited by Abdullah Qazi

December 26, 2011: National Cricket Team Tour Helmand



Photo by: Noor Ahmad Noori

By Noor Ahmad Noori

Afghanistan's national cricket team, joined by political and sports officials from Helmand as well as from the central government, toured Helmand for two days. They met and spoke with fans, and athletes from all sorts of sports, not just cricket players. They met with footballers, martial art practitioners, and even took some time to shoot pool. On the 24th of December, they attended a friendly football match between two local football teams: Barak Helmand and Ansari. Helmand Barak defeated Ansari 1-0.

On the 25th, they visited different fields and sports areas in Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province. Wherever, they went, they were greeted by fans, both young and old. The team took the time to pose for pictures, provide the local athletes with words of encouragement, and praised them for their successes. They also added that their own success was due to the prayers they have received from their fellow brothers and sisters.

-- Edited by Abdullah Qazi

December 24, 2011: National Cricket Team In Helmand


Captain Nawroz Mangal (center) with
Governor Mangal (right), and  Nazar Ali Wahidi (left), Chief of Security

Photo by: Noor Ahmad Noori

By Noor Ahmad Noori

Afghanistan's national cricket team arrived today in Afghanistan's southern province of Helmand bringing with them a message of peace. The team, which included captain Nawroz Mangal, and Shazadah Masood, were greeted with a big welcome at the airport from Helmand's provincial governor, Mohammad Gulab Mangal, and other top government officials.

The team spoke to journalists and said that they have come to Helmand bringing a message of peace, and that they will be here for two days to meet with elders, officials, and cricket players. Nawroz Mangal said that they will help train Helmandi cricket players, share their experiences with them, and even participate in friendly matches. Governor Mangal expressed his appreciation to the team for coming to Helmand and declared them heroes.

-- Edited by Abdullah Qazi

December 23, 2011: Rugby tournament started in Afghanistan

The first Afghan rugby tournament started today in Chaman Huzuri, Kabul. The tournament started at 9 am today, and the final matches are scheduled for Saturday at 11 am. Ten teams from around the country are participating in the event, which is being sponsored by the British Embassy in Kabul. The event is being held by Afghanistan's Rugby Federation, which was established in 2010.

December 23, 2011: Cricket Profile: Mohammad Aimal Naeemi


Mohammad Aimal Naeemi
Photo by: Noor Ahmad Noori

By Noor Ahmad Noori

Mohammad Aimal Naeemi is a friendly 18 year old batsman and wicket keeper who plays for the Achekzai cricket club in Lashkar Gah, the capital of Afghanistan's southern province of Helmand. Naeemi is described by his friends as a young man with always a smile on his face, well mannered, and very kind. He has been in love with the sport of cricket since he was 5 years old.

Naeemi was born in Helmand province, but because of the war and difficulties in Afghanistan, at a young age, he and his family immigrated to Quetta, Pakistan. It was in Pakistan where he completed his 12th grade, and played cricket with his classmates and friends. He returned to Afghanistan in 2007, and soon became of a member of the Achekzai club.

Naeemi has participated in numerous matches and tournaments. In 2009, he participated in the country wide tournament held in Kabul, as well as the zone tournament tournament held in Kandahar province in the same year.  While he has brought home many trophies, his fondest memory is when he made two half centuries in a tournament held in Helmand.

-- Edited by Abdullah Qazi

December 20, 2011: Sharwaly defeats Umaid in local football match


Photo by: Noor Ahmad Noori

By Noor Ahmad Noori

A football (soccer) match was recently held in Afghanistan's southern province of Helmand between two local teams. Sharwaly played against Umaid. Sharwaly defeated Umaid 1-0. Ismatullah Muslim, a sports official in the province, said that the event was held to help players improve their skills.

-- Edited by Abdullah Qazi

December 18, 2011: Sports complexes inaugurated in Kabul and Ghor

An international standard cricket stadium was inaugurated today in Kabul city. The stadium is between the Chaman-e Hazuri and Kabul cultural hall. It was built at a cost of $1 million. Funding for the project came from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). To celebrate the opening of the stadium, a friendly match was held between Afghanistan's U-19 team and the national cricket team. The national team won the match.

Also, earlier in the week, a new stadium and gymnasium were inaugurated in Afghanistan's western province of Ghor. The project was funded by the Japanese at a cost of $464,000. The stadium was built on eight acres of land, and the gymnasium was built over one acre.

December 18, 2011: 20 overs cricket series concluded in Helmand


Photo by: Noor Ahmad Noori

By Noor Ahmad Noori

A three-day 20 overs cricket series came to a conclusion yesterday in Lashkar Gah, the capital of Afghanistan's southern province of Helmand. Three teams from Helmand took on a Herati team. Mohammad Tahir Abshar, the Cricket Board Manager in Helmand, said that the event was held to improve the relationship between the players and to continue to develop the sport in the two provinces. Abshar said that on the first day, team Itehad from Helmand took on Herat, followed by Setarah on day two, then Achekzai on day three. The Helmandi teams won two games and the team from Herat won one of the games. The Man of the Series award went to Abdul Hakim, a member of one of the Helmandi teams.

-- Edited by Abdullah Qazi

December 18, 2011: Bahadurzada out of UFC 142


Siyar Bahadurzada (left) and Erick Silva (right)

Afghan MMA fighter Siyar Bahadurzada's first fight in the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) has been delayed.  On Friday, Bahadurzada announced that he broke his right hand in training. Bahadurzada was scheduled to fight Brazilian striker Erick Silva on UFC 142, which is scheduled to be held on January 14 2012.

December 18, 2011: Cricket Profile: Jamal Din


Jamal Din
Photo by: Noor Ahmad Noori

By Noor Ahmad Noori

Jamal Din is a 19 year old all-rounder who plays for the Itehad Cricket Club in Afghanistan's southern province of Afghanistan. An all-rounder is a cricketer who performs well at both batting and bowling. Jamal Din lives in Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province, and currently attends 11th grade in the Lashkar Gah Boys High School. He is first in his class and likes to study history. He wants to be a doctor in the future. He started playing cricket 9 years ago, and has participated in many matches and tournaments. In a 2010 provincial tournament, he even achieved the man of the match honors. Also in a 2011 provincial tournament, he made 88 runs (not out). He had kind words for his team captain and said he is a polite person, and added that the team's expenses are paid for by the captain.

-- Edited by Abdullah Qazi

December 18, 2011: Cricket Profile: Qudratullah


Qudratullah
Photo by: Noor Ahmad Noori

By Noor Ahmad Noori

Qudratullah is a member of the Al Noor Cricket Club in Afghanistan's southern province of Helmand. He was born 18 years ago in Helmand province. Unfortunately, because of financial problems, he was only able to attend school up to the 5th grade. He started playing cricket 10 years ago. Now he is a fast bowler for the Al Noor Cricket Club. He said he joined this team because he feels the team is very united and the players respect each other. Qudratullah has shown himself to be a major asset for the team.

-- Edited by Abdullah Qazi

December 11, 2011: Afghanistan loses in football but wins in cricket

After dominating many of the teams and making it to the final match of the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Cup, Afghanistan lost to India 4-0. Afghan football fans were very much disappointed, as they were hoping to see the football team achieve the same type of success the Afghan national cricket team has achieved over the years. Many Afghans were also sore over the fact that an Indian official gave Afghanistan's captain and goalkeeper, Hameedullah Yousufzari a red card.  They believe this paved the way for an unfair Indian victory.

In good news, Afghanistan defeated Hong Kong today in Nepal by 8 runs to once again win the Asian Cricket Council Twenty20 Cup. Afghanistan scored a total of 125 runs (in 19.5 overs), the biggest contributors being Golbodin Naib with 57, followed by Mohammad Nabi with 24. The Afghans kept Hong Kong restricted to only 117 runs ( in 19.2 overs). The star of the game and the winner of the man of the match award was Hamid Hassan. See Scorecard.

December 10, 2011: Nepal loses to Afghanistan in both cricket and football

Yesterday, thanks to a single goal from star player Bilal Arezo, Afghanistan defeated Nepal in the semi-final match of the  South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Cup to secure themselves a spot in the final against India on December 11th. This will be Afghanistan's first time in the final of the SAFF cup.

Meanwhile in the world of cricket, Afghanistan defeated Nepal by 9 wickets in the Asian Cricket Council Twenty20 Cup - semi final match. The man of the match honors went to Afghanistan's Dawlat Zadran. Afghanistan will now face off against Hong Kong in the final on December 11th. See Scorecard.

December 7, 2011: Afghanistan's defeats Bhutan 8-1

Afghanistan defeated Bhutan 8-1 in the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Cup today. With this win, they have secured themselves a spot in the semi-finals. The Afghan goals were scored by Bilal Arezo (4), Ata Yamrali (1), Mohmmad Esrafiul (1), Djelaludin Sharityar (1), and Yousef Mashriqi (1).  Arezo was given man of the match honors for his four goals in the game. He is also the leading scorer in the tournament.  Afghanistan's coach Mohamed Yousef Kargar was happy with the results. "My players have made my wish come true. It is a dream come true to book a semis berth at this tournament," he said. The team dedicated their win to to all the victims of the recent Kabul bomb-blast, in which 55 people were killed.

December 7, 2011: Four in a row, Afghanistan defeats Maldives in cricket

Today at the ACC (Asian Cricket Council) Twenty20 Cup Group A competitions, Afghanistan defeated Maldives by 62  runs. Afghanistan scored a total of 157 runs, while Maldives scored only 95 runs. The highest runs for the Afghan team came from Shabir Noori with 76, followed by Karim Sadiq with 26, and Mohammad Shahzad with 19. For his outstanding batting, the player of the match honors went to Shabir Noori. This is the fourth win a row for Afghanistan.

See scorecard

December 6, 2011: Afghanistan smashes Bhutan for third straight win


Karim Sadiq

Today at the ACC (Asian Cricket Council) Twenty20 Cup Group A competitions, Afghanistan defeated Bhutan by 180 runs. Afghanistan scored a total of 225 runs, while Bhutan scored only 45 runs. The highest runs for the Afghan team came from Karim Sadiq with 72, followed by Nawroz Mangal with 37, and Mohammad Nabi with 36. For his outstanding batting, the player of the match honors went to Karim Sadiq. This is the third win a row for Afghanistan - first they defeated Malaysia by 59 runs and then Oman by 40 runs. Next, Afghanistan takes on Maldives.

See scorecard

December 6, 2011: Practice cricket match held in Helmand


Photo by: Noor Ahmad Noori

By Noor Ahmad Noori

A 20-over practice cricket match was held today between local teams in Afghanistan's southern province of Helmand. The Cricket Board Provincial Manager, Mohammad Tahir Abshar, said that the game was held so that the players can further develop their skills. Hewad cricket club played against Al Noor cricket club. Hewad batted first and made 194 runs, losing 4 wickets. Al Noor made 159 runs, losing 6 wickets.

-- Edited by Abdullah Qazi

December 5, 2011: Results from latest international games

South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Cup

December 3: Afghanistan vs. India (1-1) - draw.  Afghan goal scored by Bilal Arezo.

December 5: Afghanistan v. Sri Lanka. Afghanistan wins 3-1. Afghan goals scored by Sanjar Ahmadi (2) and Yamir Ali (1).

Asian Cricket Council Twenty20 Cup - Group A

December 3: Afghanistan v Malaysia - Afghanistan won by 59 runs
Scorecard

December 4: Afghanistan v Oman - Afghanistan won by 40 runs
Scorecard

December 5, 2011: Helmand defeats Zabul and Kandahar in zone football competitions

By Noor Ahmad Noori

A week long inter-zone football (soccer) tournament started last Friday (December 2nd) in the province of Kandahar. On the first day, according to the Abdul Rahim, the Technical and Administrative Deputy Sports Director in Helmand Province, the Helmand's football team defeated the Zabul team by 9 goals. On day two, Helmand defeated Kandahar 1-0.

-- Edited by Abdullah Qazi

December 1, 2011: Helmandi cricket players participate in zone tournament

By Noor Ahmad Noori

Helmand's Cricket Board Manager, Mohammad Tahir Abshar, said that 7 cricket players from Helmand province have been chosen and sent to Jalalabad to participate in the the 5 zone cricket tournament. The tournament is being held by the national cricket board. The five zones participating are Bost zone, Mis Ainak zone, Amo zone, Band-e Ameer zone and Speen Ghar zone. The winner of this tournament will move on to the semi-final match.

-- Edited by Abdullah Qazi

November 28, 2011: Afghanistan Rugby Federation has become an associate member of the Asian Rugby Football Union

Afghanistan's Rugby Federation announced yesterday that they have become an associate member of the Asian Rugby Football Union (ARFU). The announcement of their membership was made on Sunday, November 27th, at the annual general meeting held at the Vansana Riverside Hotel, in Vientiane, Laos.

At the meeting, the Afghanistan Rugby Federation was represented by Mohammad Mansoor Majid who serves as Chairman and Asad Ziar, who serves as the Chief Executive Officer. Majid delivered a speech at the annual general meeting and expressed his appreciation to all the members of the ARFU.

November 28, 2011: Cricket Profile: Mohammad Dawood


Mohammad Dawood
Photo by: Noor Ahmad Noori

By Noor Ahmad Noori

During the 3 day cricket series between the Herat cricket team and three teams from Helmand, Mohammad Dawood, who is the Herat Cricket Board Manager, served as the Manager of the team during the series.

Mohammad Dawood is 24 years old and was born in Kandahar, however he and half of his family lives in Herat. He's been involved in cricket for 9 years now, and has been manager for 2 years. Dawood said because of the wars in Afghanistan, and financial problems, he was never able to get an education. He feels this is a big loss for him and regrets it deeply.

Dawood is a good batsman, he has played in country based tournaments and has been to Jalalabad, Kabul, Kandahar, as well as Helmand to play. He's also played in 3 tournaments in Herat. He added that he has his own team by the name of Muslim Afghan and that they have won one tournament in Herat.

Dawood said that they are facing all sorts of financial problems in Herat - they don't  have adequate playing grounds and most of the money for his cricket expenses comes out of his own pocket.

-- Edited by Abdullah Qazi

November 28, 2011: Cricket series ends in Helmand


Abdul Sami Karimi (in blue) with sports officials
Photo by: Noor Ahmad Noori

By Noor Ahmad Noori

The last match of the 3-day, 20 overs cricket series which started on November 23rd ended in a draw. Helmand's Achekzai went up against the Herati cricket team. According to Mohammad Tahir Abshar, the Helmand Cricket Board Manager, the Herat cricket team won the coin toss and elected to bat first. They scored 165 runs and lost 9 wickets, Achekzai also scored 165 runs, and lost 7 wickets.

The Director of Sports in Helmand, Ismatullah Muslim, and Haji Abdullah Jaan, a member of the provincial assembly, as well as numerous other cricket fans were present for the match. Muslim and Abdullah Jaan both praised the cricket players and expressed their thanks to the Herati team for coming and playing in the series. Gifts and trophies were distributed to the players. The Man of the Series award was given to Abdul Sami Karami from the Achekzai team.

-- Edited by Abdullah Qazi

November 27, 2011: New cricket stadium inaugurated in Mazar-e Sharif

Pajhwok Afghan News (PAN) reported today that a newly-constructed cricket stadium was inaugurated in Mazar-e Sharif, the capital of Afghanistan's northern province of Balkh. According to the PAN report, the stadium, which is spread over seven acres of land, was built at a cost of $200,000, The funding for the project came from the the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

November 25, 2011: Herat loses first game but wins second game in cricket series


Herat cricket team (green)  and Helmand Jahani (blue) before the match
Photo by: Noor Ahmad Noori

By Noor Ahmad Noori

The Herati cricket team has so far lost one game and won one game in the 3-day, 20 overs cricket series which had started on November 23rd in Afghanistan's southern province of Helmand. In the first match against Helmand's Al Noor Cricket Club, the Herati team fell short. The Al Noor Cricket Club scored 159 runs, and lost 6 wickets. The team from Herat scored only 140 runs, and lost 8 wickets, according to Mohammad Tahir Abshar, the Cricket Board Manager in Helmand.

Herat did better when they went up against Helmand Jahani. According to Mohammad Tahir Abshar, Herat won the coin toss and chose to bat first. Herat scored 159 runs and lost  8 wicket to Helmand Jahani. Helmand Jahani failed to reach the target; they only scored 139 runs and lost all wickets. 

-- Edited by Abdullah Qazi

November 23, 2011: A very brief profile of the Azad junior level football team


Azad football team. Mustafa, the captain is in the center.
Photo by: Noor Ahmad Noori

By Noor Ahmad Noori

The Azad football (soccer) B team is an active junior level team in Afghanistan's southern province of Helmand. The team plays under the supervision of the Helmand Sports Department. The captain of the team is 12 year old Mustafa. Mustafa is in the 8th grade and attends Lashkar Gah Boys Middle School. Mustafa has been playing for the team for two years now - ever since the team was formed. His love for the sport began when he was only five years old when he used to watch the game on TV. The Azad team has so far played in five provincial based tournaments, and have won 4 cups. The team practices on a regular basis so they can participate in harder tournaments and bring glory to the province.

-- Edited by Abdullah Qazi

November 23, 2011: Three-day cricket series starts in Helmand


Photo by: Noor Ahmad Noori

By Noor Ahmad Noori

A 3-day cricket series started today in Afghanistan's southern province of Helmand, Helmand's Cricket Board Manager, Mohammad Tahir Abshar said. Three teams from Helmand and a team from Herat will be participating. Abshar said that the purpose of the tournament is to further develop the sport in the area, and strengthen the relationships between the provincial cricket players. Mohammad Dawood, Herat's Cricket Board Manager was also present on the first day of the event. He commented that he was really interested in seeing Helmand province and watching their players. He hoped that his team wins the matches.

Schedule:

1st Match: Herat vs. Al Noor Cricket Club
2nd Match: Herat vs. Helmand Jahani
3rd Match: Herat vs. Achekzai

-- Edited by Abdullah Qazi

November 21, 2011: Helmandi football team gets invitation from Kandahari team



Ismatullah Muslim speaking to journalists
Photo by: Noor Ahmad Noori

By Noor Ahmad Noori

Ismatullah Muslim, Helmand province's sports director announced on Sunday (November 20th) that the Ainu Meenah B team from Kandahar province has officially invited the Yaraan B team from Helmand to participate in a friendly football (soccer) tournament that will be held in Kandahar.

The invitation came from the Ainu Meenah's team trainer, Abdul Ghafaar Dust, according to Muslim. Muslim also added that the Helmandi team has accepted the invitation and will prepare to go to Kandahar.

-- Edited by Abdullah Qazi

November 19, 2011: Local football match in Helmand ends in a draw



Photo by: Noor Ahmad Noori

By Noor Ahmad Noori

Helmand province's top two football teams, Omaid and Ansari, played a friendly match, and the game ended in a draw (1-1), according to Abdul Rahim, a sports official from the province. Both teams are considered "super teams" and participate regularly in zone as well as country level tournaments and matches.

-- Edited by Abdullah Qazi

November 18, 2011: Cricket series starts in Helmand



Photo by: Noor Ahmad Noori

By Noor Ahmad Noori

A three day cricket series started on Friday, November 18th, in Afghanistan's southern of province of Helmand, according to Mohammad Tahir Abshar, the Cricket Board Manager. On the first day, Setarah played against Ittihad. Ittihad won the coin toss and elected to bat first. Ittihad made 264 runs in 20 overs, losing 5 wickets. Setarah made 190 runs, losing all wickets. The Man of the Match honors went to Amanullah from Ittihad, he had scored 54 runs.

-- Edited by Abdullah Qazi

November 18, 2011: Helmand invites Farah and Nimroz to football tournament


Helmandi football players from Omaid and Ansari teams posing with provincial sports officials (left)
Photo by: Noor Ahmad Noori

By Noor Ahmad Noori

Ismatullah Muslim, a sports official from Helmand province said that the Helmand Sports Department will invite two football (soccer) B level teams from Nimroz and Farah provinces to compete in a friendly tournament. Muslim said that the Helmand team is training and preparing for the tournament which will held in coming week. The schedule will be as follows;

1st day: Helmand vs. Farah
2nd day: Helmand vs. Nimroz
3rd day: Farah vs. Nimroz

-- Edited by Abdullah Qazi

November 17, 2011: Afghan MMA fighter to fight in UFC 142


Siyar Bahadurzada (left) and Erick Silva (right)

Afghan MMA fighter Siyar Bahadurzada's next fight will be in the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) as he takes on Brazilian striker Erick Silva. They will meet at UFC 142 which will be held on January 14, 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Silva has a record of 13 wins, and 1 loss. In his last fight, he defeated Luis Ramos on August 27, 2011 via knock out in the first round. Bahadurzada who is on a 6 fight winning streak has a record of 20 wins, 4 losses and 1 draw.

November 17, 2011: Basketball tournament held in Helmand

By Noor Ahmad Noori

A basketball tournament was recently held in Lashkar Gah, the capital city of Afghanistan's Helmand province. According to Abdul Rahim, a sports official from the province, the first game was played between a team named Umaid and a team named Sahaar. Umaid defeated Sahaar 30-26.  Rahim added that the purpose of the tournament was to celebrate the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha.

-- Edited by Abdullah Qazi

November 13, 2011: Afghan Karate Team Finishes In Second Place

Pajhwok Afghan News (PAN) reported today that an Afghan Karate team has finished in second place, behind Turkey, in the Euro-Asian Karate Championships held from November 11th to the 13th in Antalya, Turkey. An official told PAN that the Afghans grabbed a total of 8 medals (4 gold, 2 silver and 2 bronze).

November 13, 2011: Pakistani football team comes to Helmand




Photo by: Noor Ahmad Noori

By Noor Ahmad Noori

A Pakistani team from Pakistan's city of Chaman recently came to Afghanistan's southern province of Helmand to play 2 friendly matches against the local teams. The Pakistani team was warmly welcomed by Ismatullah Muslim, the Sports Director in Helmand province. In the first match, Helmand's Ariana team defeated the Pakistan team 2-0, and the next day, Helmand's Sher Wali team, defeated the Pakistani team 5-1.

-- Edited by Abdullah Qazi

November 13, 2011: Kandahar defeats Helmand in football



Kandahari and Helmandi footballers shake hands at end of match
Photo by: Noor Ahmad Noori

By Noor Ahmad Noori

A friendly football (soccer) competition that had started on November 9th between teams from Helmand and Kandahar province in Afghanistan's southern province of Helmand,  concluded on Thursday, November 10th. Abdul Rahim, a sports official from Helmand, said the games were held to enhance the friendship between the two provinces, and to celebrate the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha.

In the first match, the Kandahar Ainu Meehan A team defeated the Maiwand A team from Helmand 2-1. In the second game, The Ansari A team from Helmand managed to maintain a draw (0-0) against their rival Kandahari team.

-- Edited by Abdullah Qazi

November 13, 2011: Profile of an Afghan kickboxing teacher


Mohammad Laiq Asar
Photo by: Noor Ahmad Noori

By Noor Ahmad Noori

A Brief Profile of Mohammad Laiq Asar, an Afghan Kickboxing Teacher

Forty-six year old Mohammad Liaq Asar was born in Afghanistan's Laghman province. To the people around him, he is known as "Aka", which means uncle in the Pashto language.

Asar is currently in Helmand province on a visit. He normally runs a kickboxing club in Kabul, by the name of Asar Kickboxing Club, and teaches at least one class a day there. At the moment, he has 40 students - all male. He says that he taught himself kickboxing and has participated in many competitions in Asia. He says that he has brought home titles from tournaments held in Pakistan, and other Asian countries such as Uzbekistan and Tajikistan in 2002.

Besides kickboxing, "Aka" is also a well known writer, actor and director, and works for Shamshad Television in Afghanistan. He says he does what he does for his nation and his people.

-- Edited by Abdullah Qazi

November 10, 2011: Helmand takes on Kandahar in football


Abdul Rahim (center with turban), posing
with footballers from Helmand and Kandahar
Photo by: Noor Ahmad Noori

By Noor Ahmad Noori

A friendly 2-day football (soccer) competition started yesterday (Wednesday, November 9th) between teams from Helmand and Kandahar province in Afghanistan's southern province of Helmand. Abdul Rahim, a sports official from Helmand, said the purpose of the event is to enhance the friendship between the two provinces. In the opening match, the Ainu Meehan A team from Kandahar played against the Maiwand A team from Helmand. Numerous spectators, including sports officials, and police officers were present to watch the game. The match officially started at 4:00 pm local time.

-- Edited by Abdullah Qazi

November 9, 2011: 21 people obtain black belts in Helmand

By Noor Ahmad Noori

Twenty-one people from Afghanistan's southern province of Helmand have recently completed their training, and have acquired black belts in Hashira Karate. Nasratullah Nasrat, the head of the Hashira Karate Federation, said that these young people were learning Hashira Karate for a long time now, and now they fulfilled their learning period. Nasrat also said they have now more than 80 students who are currently learning Hashira Karate.

-- Edited by Abdullah Qazi

October 30, 2011: Afghan U-25 team left for Maldives yesterday; Etisalat Afghanistan continues sponsorship of Afghan cricket

An Afghan under-25 team left yesterday to go to Maldives to participate in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Twenty20 Cup cricket tournament. Besides Afghanistan and the host country Maldives, Bhutan, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka and Nepal will be participating in the event. Bangladesh was going to participate but recently dropped out; this gave Afghanistan an automatic 2 points.

Star bowler Hamid Hassan will be the captain of the team, and the vice-captain will be Shahzad Mohammadi. The rest of the team members are: Nasir Jamal Ahmadzai, Najeeb Tarakai, Jawaid Ahmadi, Najib Zadran, Samiullah Shinwari, Nawab Khan, Daulat Zadran, Mirwais Ashraf, Gulbadin Naib, Rokhan, Amir Mangal and Fazlur Rahman Zazai. The reserved players are: Rahmat Shah, Afsar Zazai, Izattullah, and Sami Agha.

It is being reported that the heads of the SAARC member states, including Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai, will be watching the games.

In other cricket news, Etisalat Afghanistan, a 100% owned subsidiary of Etisalat UAE (United Arab Emirates), and one of the largest telecommunications companies in the world, recently announced the renewal of their partnership with the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) to boost and promote the sport of cricket in Afghanistan. Etisalat Afghanistan has been the official sponsor of Afghanistan's national cricket team.

In a press release, Yasser Aboul Amayem, Chief Commercial Officer Etisalat Afghanistan, stated, "Etisalat Afghanistan remains committed in empowering sports in Afghanistan. We have stood shoulder to shoulder with Afghanistan Cricket Board for the promotion and development of cricket in general and the youth of Afghanistan in particular. We see this as a journey as well as an excellent opportunity to tap the talent of younger segment of the society, encouraging them towards healthy and prosperous activities and there is no better platform available than sports to give them exposure and a chance to show their skills on the world stage."

October 27, 2011: Wushu club inaugurated in Helmand province

By Noor Ahmad Noori

The Ahmad Shah Baba Wushu Club was inaugurated yesterday by sports officials in Lashkar Gah, the capital city of Helmand province.

Ismatullah Muslim, a sports official from Helmand, Abdullah Jan, a member of the provincial assembly, and other officials attended and participated in the inauguration ceremony.

According to Muslim, the club has 50 students and three qualified teachers. Moreover, the Wushu equipment was provided to the club by the sports department of Helmand province.

-- Edited by Abdullah Qazi

October 27, 2011: Nad Ali defeats Marjah in football match


Nad Ali team captain (in red) greets fans
Photo by: Noor Ahmad Noori

By Noor Ahmad Noori

Earlier this week, in the anti-poppy football (soccer) tournament currently being held in Lashkar Gah, the capital city of Afghanistan's southern Helmand province, Nad Ali defeated Marjah 4-1. Nad Ali and Marjah are neighboring districts in Helmand province.

The purpose of the tournament is to bring awareness and to support provincial governor Mohammad Gulab Mangal's anti-poppy cultivation drive in the province. Abdul Qadeer Haqyaar, an official from the anti-narcotics department, Ismatullah Muslim, a sports official from Helmand province, local TV and radio journalists, as well as other government officials attended the game. Ismatullah Muslim expressed his admiration to both teams for participating in the tournament. At the end of the match, which ended at 4:00 pm local time, gifts were distributed to the players.

-- Edited by Abdullah Qazi

October 25, 2011: Training for cricket coaches and umpires


Photo by: Noor Ahmad Noori

By Noor Ahmad Noori

The cricket directorate in Kabul has decided to setup training for coaches and umpires to further develop the sport of cricket in the country, according to Mohammad Tahir Abshar, the cricket board manager in Helmand province. Abshar said that Mr. Zmaryaly from Helmand province has been sent to the training, so he can be trained as a coach and an umpire. Once he completes his training, he will come back to Helmand and teach what he learned. According to Abshar, the trainers are from Pakistan, and the training is for four days. Abshar said that this a good opportunity since many players have been complaining about the lack of skilled coaches and umpires in the province.

-- Edited by Abdullah Qazi

October 23, 2011: Kandahar A team wins "Ahmad Wali" football tournament

By Noor Ahmad Noori

The Kandahar A team has won the six-day Ahmad Wali Karzai football (soccer) tournament in Afghanistan's southern province of Kandahar. The tournament is named after Ahmad Wali, the half brother of President Hamid Karzai and former head of the the Kandahar Provincial Assembly. Two teams from Kandahar, a team from Farah province, and a team from Pakistan's Chaman city participated in the event, which was held in Ahmad Shahi Stadium.

Even though the final game of the tournament between Kandahar A and B teams ended in a 1-1 draw, Kandahar A was declared the winner based on total points scored, according to Modeer Agha, a sports official from Kandahar province. Farah came in second and Kandahar B came in third position.

On the final day of the tournament, gifts were distributed to the players.

-- Edited by Abdullah Qazi

October 23, 2011: New Stadium Inaugurated In Paktia Province

Afghan officials told Pajhwok Afghan News (PAN) yesterday that construction work on a new sports stadium has been completed in Gardez city, the capital of Afghanistan's southeastern province of Paktia. The stadium took 1 year to build at a cost of $700,000, according to the provincial Olympic committee head, Mohammad Amin Alamyar.

October 18, 2011: "Ahmad Wali" football tournament started in Kandahar

By Noor Ahmad Noori

A football (soccer) tournament named after Ahmad Wali, the half brother of President Hamid Karzai and former head of the the Kandahar Provincial Assembly, has started in Afghanistan's southern province of Kandahar. Modeer Agha, a sports official from Kandahar province, said that two local teams from Kandahar, a team from Farah province, and a team from Pakistan's Chaman city are participating in the event.  In the tournament, each team will play three matches. Funding for the event is being provided by Kandahar's Olympic Department and Football federation.

-- Edited by Abdullah Qazi

October 17, 2011: Bost Zone Cricket Tournament Ends Early In Kandahar Province

By Noor Ahmad Noori

An inter-club cricket tournament which started on October 13th ended early today. The tournament was scheduled for six days, but ended in four, because the team from Zabul did not show up to the tournament, according to Abdul Wali Ameen, the cricket board manager in Kandahar. The tournament was supposed to be played amongst the Herat, Kandahar, Helmand, and Zabul teams.

The final match of the tournament was played between Kandahar and Helmand. Kandahar made 251 runs in 32 overs - losing all wickets. Helmand made 217 runs in 33 overs - losing all wickets, thus giving Kandahar the win. Kandahar will now move on to country based tournaments.

Results of other matches:

Day one: Kandahar vs. Herat. Herat team in 31 overs made 173 runs (losing all wickets). Kandahar won easily in 22 overs (losing 3 wickets).

Day two: Helmand vs. Herat. Herat team started batting first, and lost all their wickets in 107 runs. Helmand achieved their goal, losing 5 wickets. Helmand won the match.

Day three: Kandahar vs. Helmand. Kandahar made 251 runs (losing all wickets), and Helmand made 200 runs (losing 9 wickets). Kandahar won the match.

-- Edited by Abdullah Qazi

October 16, 2011: Anti-poppy football tournament starts in Helmand


Inauguration ceremony of the football tournament
Photo by: Noor Ahmad Noori

By Noor Ahmad Noori

A twenty-day football tournament started today in Lashkar Gah, the capital city of Afghanistan's southern Helmand province. Ismatullah Muslim, a sports official, told journalists that 26 teams, all from various districts, will be participating in the event.

The purpose of the tournament is to bring awareness and to support provincial governor Mohammad Gulab Mangal's anti-poppy cultivation drive in the province. The governor wants to encourage farmers to avoid cultivating poppies. He's even implemented a plan to support the farmers financially and to provide them with seeds for alternative crops.

Mohammad Dawood Ahmadi, the governor's spokesman noted that the governor has visited several different districts in the province to campaign against poppy cultivation. He has talked to village elders, farmers, and community members. The footballers want to do their part in spreading the governor's public awareness program.

Before the event officially started, Ismatullah Muslim encouraged the players to do their best and respect each other during the matches.

-- Edited by Abdullah Qazi

October 16, 2011: Afghanistan loses to UAE again; ACC to train Afghan cricket players and coaches

Last week, on Wednesday, October 12th, in their second Intercontinental Cup One-day match against the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Afghanistan's national cricket team lost by 69 runs. It was another disappointing loss for the Afghans. UAE won the toss and chose to bat first.  Their openers gave them a steady start. Eventually, the UAE scored 221 (4.42 runs per over), while Afghanistan only scored 152 (3.40 runs per over). The best batter of the game was the UAE captain Khurram Khan who scored 43 runs. This got him the player of the match honors. Afghanistan's Asghar Stanikzai scored 33, he was followed by Karim Sadiq who scored 31.

In other cricket news, Afghanistan's Wakht News Agency (WNA) reported today that the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) plans to train Afghan cricket players and coaches from the national and provincial teams.  According to the WNA report, the training will be a week long and will run from October 21st to the 27th.

October 16, 2011: Young Afghan Cricket Player: Abdullah


Abdullah
Photo by: Noor Ahmad Noori

By Noor Ahmad Noori

A Brief Profile of Abdullah, the Captain of the Khpal Waak Cricket Team

Abdullah is a 14-year old cricketer who has been living in Lashkar Gar city, the capital of Afghanistan's southern Helmand province, for the past 5 years. He has four brothers and 2 sisters. He was born in Grishek district. He is in the 9th grade and attends the Lashkari Bazar Boys School. His favorite subjects are Pashto and Math and currently ranks fifth in his class.

Abdullah became interested in cricket when he was 10 years old. He mostly plays with his friends and motivates others to join the sport. He believes it is one of the most famous games in the world. He has a friend name, Abdul Hakim. A year ago, Abdullah and Abdul Hakim decided to make an under-19 youth team. Abdullah is the captain of the team and Abdul Hakim leads it in Abdullah's absence.

Abdullah says that they have won 13 different matches in the province and even boasts of medal wins. He says his team has participated in 20 organized matches. According to Abdullah, his team has achieved second and third positions in school level tournaments.

Abdullah loves cricket because it keeps him and his friends from engaging in bad behavior, such as doing drugs. However, he laments over the fact that his team doesn't have enough space to practice and lacks adequate equipment.

-- Edited by Abdullah Qazi

October 11, 2011: Afghanistan loses to UAE; Afghanistan to participate in SAARC cricket tournament


Gulbodin Naib

Yesterday night, in the first Intercontinental Cup One-day match at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) defeated Afghanistan's national cricket team by 15 runs. Khurram Khan, the captain of the UAE team scored a half-century, and Shaiman Anwar made 42 runs. Overall, UAE scored 198 runs. Afghanistan scored 183, the highest was by Gulbodin Naib with 43, followed by Mohammad Nabi with 39. The player of the match honors went to the UAE captain Khurram Khan. Tomorrow, Afghanistan will take on the UAE one more time at Sharjah Cricket Stadium. The match is expected to start at 10:30 GMT.

Yesterday, Pajhwok Afghan News (PAN) reported that Afghanistan is expected to participate in the upcoming South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) cricket tournament. The event is scheduled to held later this month in Maldives. "Under-25 players from member countries will participate in the tournament", said the PAN report. SAARC member states are Pakistan, India, the Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and Afghanistan.

October 11, 2011: Local football match ends scoreless



Photo by: Noor Ahmad Noori

Reported by Noor Ahmad Noori

A local football (soccer) match held in Lashkar Gah, the capital city of Afghanistan's southern Helmand province, ended in a draw on Sunday. The match was played between Shaar Wali and Maiwand. Neither side scored a goal. Abdul Rahim, the Technical and Administrative Deputy Sports Manager in the province commented that both team were really good and evenly matched, that's why the game ended in a draw.

-- Edited by Abdullah Qazi
 

October 8, 2011: Helmand Jahani wins friendly cricket match


Photo by: Noor Ahmad Noori

Reported by Noor Ahmad Noori

A friendly 20 overs cricket match was held today (Saturday) in Lashkar Gah, the capital of Afghanistan's southern Helmand province. Helmand Jahani played against Helmand Elected. Helmand Jahani defeated Helmand Elected. Helmand Jahani scored 200 runs in 20 overs while losing 9 wickets. Helmand Elected scored 187 runs in 19.3 overs and lost 10 wickets, said Mohammad Taher Abshar, the manager of the cricket board in the province. According to Abshar, the match was held to enhance the relationship amongst the players.

-- Edited by Abdullah Qazi
 

October 8, 2011: Ahmad Shah Masood Football Jam Concludes in Helmand


Yaran players posing with their trophy
Photo by: Noor Ahmad Noori

Reported by Noor Ahmad Noori

On Friday, a 21-day football tournament in honor and memory of the late martyred Afghan leader, Ahmad Shah Masood, concluded in Afghanistan's southern province of Helmand. Abdul Rahim, a sports official in the province said that a total of 21 teams participated in the event. The teams were divided into two groups: B and C. Group B had 10 teams and group C had 11 teams. The winner of Group B was Yaran, they defeated their opponents 3-2. Abdul Wahid, the captain of the team was happy with his team's performance. In group C, the winner of the tournament was Abdali. They defeated their opponents, Khurasan, 2-1. An event was held on the last day, where gifts were distributed to the winning teams, and the players who performed very well in the tournament.

-- Edited by Abdullah Qazi
 

October 8, 2011: Afghanistan vs. UAE cricket match ends in draw

Afghanistan's national cricket team took on the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in a four-day International Cricket Council (ICC) Intercontinental Cup match at Sharjah Cricket Stadium from October 5-8. The match ended in a draw today.

The UAE won the toss and elected to bat first. The UAE started out great, and left Afghanistan struggling, they scored a total of 462 runs (3.94 runs per over) in their first inning. Mohammed Nabi fired back in the Afghan team's first inning by scoring a century (117 runs). Jawaid Ahmadi helped by scoring 80 of his own. This put the Afghans at 328 runs (2.91 runs per over).

The UAE scored 228 runs (3.12 runs per over) in their second inning, with SP Patil scoring 79 and B Palekar scoring 61. Afghanistan scored 131 runs (1.63 runs per over) in their second inning. Nabi who had scored a century in the first inning ended up with an unbeaten 35 in the second. Jawaid Ahmadi scored 49 runs.

Kabir Khan, the coach of the UAE team, and formerly coach of the Afghan team told Gulf News: "It is indeed a great feeling to have put a strong team like Afghanistan, which is made up of professional and full time cricketers, on the back foot. Our boys, though part-time cricketers, really did well."
 

October 3, 2011: Football tournament starts in Helmand


Photo by: Noor Ahmad Noori

Reported by Noor Ahmad Noori

An almost 15-day long football (soccer) tournament started last Friday, September 30th in Afghanistan's southern province of Helmand. A total of 16 teams are participating in the event. A sports official in the province said that the teams are divided into two groups: Group A and Group B.

The Group A teams are: Umaid, Aryana, Qanoon, Srah Measht, Ansari, Perozi, Haq and Baromand. The Group B teams are: Itehaad, Itefaaq, Pekan, Azad,  Bost, Boys High School, Toolanah and Shaheen.

Abdul Rahim, the Technical and Administrative Deputy Sports Director in Helmand, said that the the winner of Group A will go to the national competitions, and the winner of Group B will play zone tournaments.

The first game of the tournament was between Bost and Shaheen, both from Group B. The game ended in a 1:1 draw.

-- Edited by Abdullah Qazi
 

October 2, 2011: Afghan MMA fighter to fight in the UFC

Afghan MMA fighter, Siyar Bahadurzada announced on his Facebook site recently that he has signed with the biggest mixed martial arts organization in the world, the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship). Bahadurzada is the reigning Shooto light-heavyweight champion, and in May of this year, he also won the United Glory - 2010-2011 World Series welterweight title. He will be fighting in the welterweight division in the UFC.
 

October 2, 2011: Khost gets new sports stadium

In Afghanistan's eastern province of Khost, an inauguration ceremony was held recently to mark the end of a three year old long construction project to build a sports stadium in the province. The sports stadium was built at cost of more than a million (US) dollars, and it has the capacity to hold more than 20,000 spectators.  Moreover, it has been built according to international codes and standards. Various different sporting events can be held in the stadium, including cricket as well as football (soccer). There are also reports that there is a plan to built a $2.5 million international cricket ground in Khost city.

September 29, 2011: Kickboxing In Helmand Province


Abdul Saboor Wafa
Photo by: Noor Ahmad Noori

By Noor Ahmad Noori

A Brief Profile of Abdul Saboor Wafa, Manager of the Kickboxing Federation in Helmand Province

Twenty-five year old Abdul Saboor Wafa was born in Kabul, however, he is now the Manager of the Kickboxing Federation here in Afghanistan's southern province of Helmand. He is a young and skillful kick boxer, who has 10 years of experience in the sport. For 3 years now, he works as a trainer in Lashkar Gar, the capital city of Helmand province. Overall, he has competed in 24 competitions in Afghanistan, and has won 5 medals.

In 2007, in a competition held in Kabul, he won a gold medal. A year later he came in second place in the same competition. In another competition towards the end of 2008 in Kunduz province, he came in first place. Kick boxers from 5 different provinces competed in that event. In 2009, in a nation wide competition in Kabul, he came in second place.

Wafa's students have also done well. They have brought home medals from different kickboxing competitions held throughout the country. Wafa currently has 120 students. He told me that the people of this land love kickboxing.

-- Edited by Abdullah Qazi

September 29, 2011: Karate In Helmand Province


Sayyad Jamal Mosavey
Photo by: Noor Ahmad Noori

By Noor Ahmad Noori

A Brief Profile of Sayyad Jamal Mosavey, Manager of the Karate Club in Lashkar Gah

Thirty-five year old Sayyad Jamal Mosavey is a resident of Lashkar Gah city, the capital of Afghanistan's Helmand province. Mosavey is experienced in both Consutva and Hashira Karate. He started out in Consutva Karate, but later switched to Hashira Karate, which is more popular in these areas. He's been practicing Hashira Karate now for at least 3 years.

Mosavey started practicing Consutva Karate when he immigrated and lived in Iran years earlier. He said that he had participated in numerous competitions in Iran and even achieved certification. He later became a teacher and had numerous students. Mosavey now teaches Hashira Karate in Lashkar Gah. The Provincial Reconstruction Team in the province, working with the local government, helped to build a building for his Karate club. He is really thankful to them. Mosavey now has more than 50 students.

In both 2010 and 2011, Mosavey brought home medals from national competitions held in Kabul. Two of his students have also achieved success in Zone competitions. Mosavey told me that he would like to have a hall to hold a large competition here in the province and has reached out to the provincial governor, Mohammad Gulab Mangal. He said that governor Mangal has responded positively to his request.

-- Edited by Abdullah Qazi

September 26, 2011: Cricket tournament ends in Helmand, another in progress in Kandahar


Mirwais, the captain of the Helmand Jahani team, holding the trophy
Photo by: Noor Ahmad Noori

Reported by Noor Ahmad Noori

A 14-day club level cricket tournament ended in Afghanistan's southern Helmand province today. Eight local teams participated in the event. In the final match, "Helmand Jahani" played against "Youths Team". Helmand Jahani won the match as they scored 195 runs, while losing 8 wickets. The Youths only scored 176 runs, while losing 9 wickets.

The man of the match honors went to Abdul Mateen from Helmand Jahani. Mirwais, the captain of the Helmand Jahani team was very happy that his team won the match. "It was because of my team's hard work and struggle that we won the match", said Mirwais. Mohammad Tahir Abshar, the Helmand cricket board manager, said that this tournament was held to select a qualified team to participate in the upcoming zone tournament. The tournament will be held in Kandahar, and teams from 6 different zones will participate. The cricket board distributed gifts to the players on the final day of this tournament.

Meanwhile in neighboring Kandahar province, according to Abdul Wali Ameen, the cricket board manager in Kandahar, a 25 overs inter-club cricket tournament is in progress until October 7th. Ameen said that 9 teams are participating in the event, and that it is being held in the newly built Aino Minah Cricket Field.

-- Edited by Abdullah Qazi

September 25, 2011: Attal Wins Cricket Peace Tournament in Kandahar

Reported by Noor Ahmad Noori

A cricket tournament held to mark the International Day of Peace recently ended in Afghanistan's Kandahar province. Haji Abdul Wali Ameen, the manager of the cricket board said that 4 cricket teams participated in the event, and on the final day team "Attal" went up against team "Arean" in a 23 overs match.

Attal won the toss and chose to bat. They scored 192 runs. Arean only scored 148 runs, leaving Attal the winners. A ceremony was held and UNAMA (United Nationsl Assistance Mission in Afghanistan) distributed gifts to the players. Also, Haji Abdul Wali Ameen expressed his appreciation to UNAMA for their gifts and called upon the people to further encourage and help support the Afghan cricket players.

-- Edited by Abdullah Qazi

September 25, 2011: Football tournament in honor of Ahmad Shah Masood being held in Helmand province


Local Helmandi footballers (soccer players)
Photo by: Noor Ahmad Noori

Reported by Noor Ahmad Noori

Abdul Rahim, a sports official in Lashkar Gah, the capital city of Helmand province, said that a football tournament in honor and memory of the late martyred Afghan leader, Ahmad Shah Masood, is currently in progress in the province. A total of 21 local teams are participating in the event, which is being held at Karzai stadium. The tournament had actually started on September 9th and scheduled to be completed on October 8th, according to Abdul Rahim. Yesterday, teams Qalah Zal and Arsalan played, and Qalah Zal defeated Arsalan 4-2.

-- Edited by Abdullah Qazi

September 25, 2011: Friendly football game held in Helmand


Photo by: Noor Ahmad Noori

Reported by Noor Ahmad Noori

On Friday, September 23rd, a friendly football game was held in Afghanistan's southern province of Helmand. The match started at 3:00 pm, and it was held at Karzai Stadium in Lashkar Gah, the capital city of Helmand province. Karzai stadium is near the provincial governor's house.

The "Umaid" football team went up against a team of municipality officials. Abdul Rahim, a Lashkar Gah sports official, said that the game was held to improve relations and enhance cooperation between the provincial youth and municipality officials. A large crowd was in attendance to watch the game, including many other municipality officials.

Abdul Rahim said that Umaid defeated the municipality team 7-2. Akhtar Mohammad, the captain of the Umaid team said that both teams played very well and that the municipality team is a good team. "We won the match because our team played very well and they met our expectations" , said Akhtar Mohammad.

-- Edited by Abdullah Qazi

September 24, 2011: Afghanistan clobbers Maldives 9-0 at 2012 AFC Under-16 Championship qualifiers

Yesterday, Afghanistan defeated Maldives by a whopping score of 9-0 in a 2012 AFC (Asian Football Confederation) Under-16 Championship qualifiers match.

Qader Zamen started it off with a goal in the 39th minute, then followed up with another in the 51st minute. Mohmmad Reza Rezaie came in and scored the third goal of the game at the 56th minute. Zamen then scored another in the 61st and then another on the 74th minute. Two minutes later, Rezaie scored his second goal of the game. Then Hayat Zia Hussain stepped in to score another goal for Afghanistan at the 79th minute. Hussain Mehrab also scored one at the 84th minute. Zamen wasn't done and scored his 5th goal of the game at the 90th minute mark. It was a clobbering for Maldives. The win helped push Afghanistan into third place, behind Yemen and Kuwait. Maldives remained in last position.

In these qualifiers, there are 7 groups, named A to G. Afghanistan is in group B with Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Pakistan, and Maldives. The event is being held in Kuwait City.

September 19, 2011: Pakistan defeats Afghanistan 3-1 at 2012 AFC Under-16 Championship qualifiers

Afghanistan went up against Pakistan today in a 2012 AFC (Asian Football Confederation) Under-16 Championship qualifiers match. Unfortunately, they lost 3-1. With this loss, Afghanistan falls to 5th place. They stand right now with 1 win, 1 loss and 2 draws.

In these qualifiers, there are 7 groups, named A to G. Afghanistan is in group B with Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Pakistan, and Maldives. The event is being held in Kuwait City.

Afghanistan's next match is against Maldives on September 22nd. Maldives is currently in last place and have lost all 4 of their matches.

September 19, 2011: Friendly football competition being held in Herat province

Reported by Noor Ahmad Noori

A friendly football (soccer) competition is being held in Afghanistan's western province of Herat. According to a deputy sports official from the province, Ziaul Haq Zia, around 8 teams are participating in the event - 4 from Herat, 2 from Kabul, 1 from Kunduz, and 1 from Nimroz. In the first game of the event, a team named Ansari defeated another team named Abu Muslim 5-0.

-- Edited by Abdullah Qazi

September 18, 2011: New coach for national cricket team, 2 players punished and former player becomes UN Goodwill Ambassador

The new coach of Afghanistan's national cricket team will be 39 year old English cricketer, Aftab Habib. Aftab is a batsman and that will be very useful for the Afghan team as many observers have pointed out that the Afghan team needs to improve their batting. Habib was formerly the Hong Kong National Coach, he will will join the Afghan team on October 2nd.

Yesterday, Pajhwok Afghan News (PAN) reported that the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) have imposed bans on two national players, Shahpur Zadran and Shafiqullah Shafaq, for "violating rules and misbehavior with team members". The PAN report said that "Zadran was banned for six months after being found guilty of flouting ACB regulation during an official tour abroad and misconduct with other players", and that Shafaq "was banned for two years".

In some good news, former national team star, Rais Ahmadzai has become the country's first National Goodwill Ambassador, according to a report published today by UNAMA (United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan). Ahmadzai will join UNICEF in Afghanistan "in raising awareness about the importance of vaccination against polio". According to the UNAMA report, Ahmadzai has "encouraged village leaders and mullahs to give vaccinators access to children and reminded fathers and mothers that it is their responsibility to protect their children against the virus".

September 18, 2011: Afghanistan at the 2012 AFC Under-16 Championship qualifiers

Afghanistan defeated Yemen 2-1 today at the 2012 AFC (Asian Football Confederation) Under-16 Championship qualifiers currently being held in Kuwait City. After Yemen scored the first goal of the game at the 6th minute, Afghan football player Muhammad Reza Rezaie tied it at the 68th minute, then in the 78th minute mark, Mohammad Amin scored Afghanistan's second goal. The game was played at Ali Sabah Al-Salem stadium.

This is the third game so far for Afghanistan. On Monday, September 12th, they played against Kuwait. The game ended in a 1:1 draw. Then on Wednesday, September 14th, they played against the United Arab Emirates. That game too ended a 1:1 draw.

In these qualifiers, there are 7 groups, named A to G. Afghanistan is in group B with Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Pakistan, and Maldives. So far, based on points, Afghanistan is in third place. Kuwait is in first, followed by United Arab Emirates. On Monday, September 19th, Afghanistan will take on Pakistan, followed by Maldives on September 22nd.

The Afghan Under 16 year old football team is being coached by Mohammad Taher Raufi.

September 13, 2011: Three day volleyball tournament concludes
 

Reported by Noor Ahmad Noori

A three day volleyball tournament held in Lashkar Gah, the capital of Afghanistan's Helmand province, has come to a conclusion. The tournament was held to strengthen bonds and improve cooperation between the police and the public, according to Lashkar Gah city police chief, Mohammad Hakim Angar. Angar, who participated in the games, also stated that activities like these help the local police to stay in shape. Ismatullah Muslim, the Director of Sports in Helmand province commented positively about how well sports are embraced in the province. Raess Agha an official from the Olympic committee was also present at the event and was impressed with the athletic abilities of the youth in Helmand, and promised help and cooperation from the committee. In the end, the police team came in first, followed by team "Helmand". Teams "Bost" and "Umaid" came in third and fourth.

-- Edited by Abdullah Qazi

September 11, 2011: Club level cricket tournament starts in Helmand
 


Photo by: Noor Ahmad Noori

Reported by Noor Ahmad Noori

Yesterday, a club level cricket tournament started in Lashkar Gah, the capital of Afghanistan's Helmand province. All known local clubs in the city are expected to participate in the event. Mohammad Tahir Abshar, the manager of the cricket board in Lashkar Gah said that the purpose of the event is to help promote the sport of cricket in the province. The event is scheduled to last 7 days and 9 teams are expected to participate. The Afghanistan Cricket Board will be notified of the winner, according to Abshar. The matches will start at 8:00 am local time.

The first match was between teams "Itehad" and "Setara". Setara won the coin toss and elected to bat first. They made 149 runs for 10 wickets in 32 overs. Itehad made 150 runs in 27 overs with the loss of 3 wickets. The man of the match honors went to Jamaluddin from the the Itehad cricket team.

-- Edited by Abdullah Qazi

September 10, 2011: Friendly football competition between police and public held in Helmand province

Reported by Noor Ahmad Noori

Last week, in Lashkar Gah, the capital of Afghanistan's Helmand province, a friendly football competition was held between the local police and the public community. According to the Lashkar Gah Police Chief, Mohammad Hakim Angar, the event was held to strengthen bonds and improve cooperation between the police and the public. Abdul Rahim, the Technical & Administrative Deputy Director of Sports in Lashkar Gah provided the same reason for holding this event. According to Mr. Rahim, they have held many other events like this in the past. Mr. Angar commented that activities like these also help the local police to stay in shape and better protect the public against dangers and disasters. In the first game, a local public team named "Bost" defeated a police team. Mr. Angar, the chief of police, participated in the game as well. The game was played in the playground of the police headquarters.

-- Edited by Abdullah Qazi

September 5, 2011: Helmandi youth turn to sports as an escape from bad habits and illegal activities
 


Abdul Rahim
Photo by: Noor Ahmad Noori

Reported by Noor Ahmad Noori

Things are really tough right now in Afghanistan's southern province of Helmand. The recent situation has brought upon a lot of miseries for the people of this land. However, the youth have turned to sports in order to prevent themselves from getting caught up in illegal activities or even bad habits like smoking. Twenty-six year old Mojtabah Mohammadi said that he exercises every day, and body builds in order to stay away from such things as smoking. Twenty-two year old Illham plays football whenever he has free time. He said that he wants to protect himself from "bad activities".

The people of Helmand participate in all sorts of sports, and there are numerous sports fans. Mr. Abdul Rahim, the Technical & Administrative Deputy Sports Director in Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province, told me in an interview that Helmand is booming with all sorts of athletes. For example, he said there are currently 60 football teams, 10 bodybuilding teams, 14 cricket teams, as well as Karate, Taekwondo, Wushu, Basketball, cycling, and wrestling teams. There is even a snooker team. Mr. Rahim said that he is happy that the athletes from this province have done well in competitions and have brought home medals. He also said that the governor of the province, Mohammad Gulab Mangal, is also very supportive of the athletes, and encourages them often. In fact, he even awarded 4 accomplished athletes (Mastoo Khan, Nasratullah Nasrat, Aziz Ahmad Helmandi & Saeed Baqir Agha) with land to build a house upon. Matoo Khan is a martial artist (Wushu), Nasratullah Nasrat is also a martial artist (Karate), Aziz Helmandi is a bodybuilder and Saeed Baqir Agha is a football player. According to Mr. Abdul Rahim, they have all brought home medals in their respective sports.

Mr. Abdul Rahim is concerned that there aren't enough grounds for the different sports, however, he is confident and optimistic about the future and believes this problem will be solved soon.

-- Edited by Abdullah Qazi

August 29, 2011: Ahmad Shah Baba High School Wins Ramadan Football Competition

Reported by Noor Ahmad Noori

A Ramadan football (soccer) competition recently concluded in Afghanistan's Kandahar province. According to Modeer Agha, a sports official from Kandahar province, Ahmad Shah Baba High School defeated the Pamir team to win the competition. The Kandahar Sports team finished in third place. Around 52 teams participated in the event. The purpose of the event was to encourage Afghan youths to lead active and healthy lives, and to stay away from illegal drugs. According to Modeer Agha, the games were watched by numerous spectators. At the end of the event, gifts were presented to the players of the winning teams.

-- Edited by Abdullah Qazi

August 28, 2011: Results of Futsal tournament in Kabul

A Ramadan futsal (indoor soccer or football) tournament ("Jam-e Ramadan") was recently held in Afghanistan's capital of Kabul, Pajhwok Afghan News (PAN) reported today.

Sitara-e-Azadi ("Freedom Star"), winners of  last year's tournament, came in first after scoring 8 goals against Bakhtar University. Last year, Sitara-e-Azadi had defeated the Sulh Futsal Squad. According to the PAN report, 60 futsal teams participated in the event.

August 27, 2011: Karate in Helmand province


Karate Martial Artists From Helmand Province
Photo by Noor Ahmad Noori

Reported by Noor Ahmad Noori

Martial arts like Karate are very popular in Afghanistan, this includes the southern province of Helmand. The youths in the province are especially interested in Karate, and learn it for self defense purposes. In Lashkar Gah, the capital city of Helmand, there are numerous Karate clubs.

The Karate martial artists from this province have done well in competitions as well. Last month, in July, 12 martial artists from Helmand participated in a major Karate competition in Kabul. According to Ismatullah Muslim, the Director of Sports in Helmand province, there were people from 22 other provinces, and that around 600 people participated. One person, Nasratullah Nasrat did exceptionally well, and was picked to participate in an upcoming Asian Karate tournament to be held in Turkey.

Mohammad Gulab Mangal, the governor or Helmand province has expressed his admiration for these local martial artists and wishes them much success. He believes Nasrat will be successful in upcoming competitions.

-- Edited by Abdullah Qazi

August 26, 2011: Cricket in Helmand Province

A discussion with the Helmand Regional Cricket Board Manager, Mohammad Tahir Abshar.

By Noor Ahmad Noori


Mohammad Tahir Abshar

Twenty-five year old Mohammad Tahir Abshar, who was born is Lashkar Gar city (capital of Helmand province), is the Helmand Regional Cricket Board Manager. I sat with him recently at his office in Helmand to discuss the status of cricket in Helmand province.

Mr. Abshar grew up in Quetta, Pakistan. When the Taliban regime fell in 2001, he came back to Lashkar Gah city with his family, and went back to school there. He graduated from the 12th grade from the Lashkar Gah Boys High School. Mr. Abshar has 14 years of experience in the sport of cricket. In early 2010, he was a cricket manager, but when a cricket board was established in Lashkar Gah, he became the manager of the board.

Mr. Abshar said that there are currently 14 adult men's cricket teams in Lashkar Gah, and 3 youth teams (ages 6-14). I asked him about any girls' teams, and he said that because of the current situation, there currently are no girls' cricket teams, but they are working towards making them.

According to Mr. Abshar, the cricket team from the province travels to other provinces to play against teams from different provinces. They have been to Kandahar, Kabul and Jalalabad. In fact, he mentioned that in 2010, his team played against a team from Ghor province in Jalalabad and defeated them.

Mr. Abshar said that the development of cricket in the province is going well. They are lots of spectators and that two of the teams have even been sponsored by local traders.

Mr. Abshar also mentioned that they lack an adequate playing field and that they have requested the governor for land. For now, his team practices in a football field.

I also got a chance to speak to some local cricket fans. They are happy to see local cricket games in Lashkar Gah. Twenty-one year old Ahmadullah, who resides in Lashkar Gah, said that he has attended the games and that he really enjoys them. Twenty-three year old Samiullah, a local cricket player, told me, "I really enjoy playing cricket. I practice it every day, now we just need a proper cricket field in Lashkar Gah".

August 25, 2011: Basketball competition ends in Helmand province

Reported by Noor Ahmad Noori

An eight day basketball competition, titled the Zaland Basketball Tournament, recently ended in the southern province of Helmand. Eight basketball teams from around the province participated in the event. The winner of the tournament was the Umaid Team, they beat the Sahar team in the finals, according to Ismatullah Muslim, the Director of Sports in Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province.

On the last day of the event, a ceremony was held where gifts were presented to the players by the provincial government officials. Abdullah Jaan, a member of the provincial assembly who was also present at the event, expressed his admiration for the achievements of the players and encouraged them to further develop their skills.

The tournament was named after Zamari Zaland, an Afghan bodybuilder who won a gold medal in the 2011 Asian bodybuilding competitions, and interestingly enough, was also the captain of a team that participated in this basketball tournament.

-- Edited by Abdullah Qazi

August 20, 2011: Upcoming Cricket Matches

Afghanistan's national cricket team will be traveling to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to take on the UAE team at Sharjah in October. Below are the scheduled dates:

Oct 5-8, 2011 (10:00 local | 06:00 GMT | 02:00 EDT | 01:00 CDT | 23:00 PDT)
Oct 10, 2011 (15:00 local | 11:00 GMT | 07:00 EDT | 06:00 CDT | 04:00 PDT)
Oct 12, 2011 (15:00 local | 11:00 GMT | 07:00 EDT | 06:00 CDT | 04:00 PDT)

August 14, 2011: Afghanistan's national cricket team wins 2 and loses 1 at Canadian held festival; 3 Afghan players nominated for ICC award

Afghanistan's national cricket team ended the 2011 Etihad Summer Festival in Canada with 2 wins and 1 loss. Their first match was on August 11th against Trinidad and Tobago. They won that one by 35 runs. Player of the match honors went to captain Nawroz Mangal. Then, on the following day, they took on Canada, and unfortunately, lost by 4 wickets (with 0 balls remaining). Finally on August 13th, they took on the United States and defeated them by 49 runs. Only 4 teams (Afghanistan, Canada, Trinidad and Tobago, and the United States) participated in the event. Trinidad and Tobago won the event because they had the highest net run-rate. Canada came in second.

In other cricket news, 3 players from Afghanistan's national cricket team, Nawroz Mangal, Mohammad Shahzad and Hamid Hassan, have been nominated for the International Cricket Council's Associate and Affiliate Player of the Year award. According to the ICC website, this award "serves to recognize and reward the efforts in all international matches of the outstanding cricketers from the teams outside the ICC Full Members." 

August 10, 2011: Afghanistan's U-19 team qualifies for ICC U-19 World Cup; national team defeats Canada yet again

The final day of the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup Qualifiers was yesterday, and the six teams that will join the ten Full Members at the World Cup are: Afghanistan, Scotland, Nepal, Ireland, Namibia and Papua New Guinea. After what seemed like a shaky start for them in the ICC Under-19 World Cup Qualifiers, the Afghan U-19 team finally pulled it together and secured themselves a spot in 2012 World Cup to be held in Australia. Yesterday, they defeated Canada by 8 wickets in a one-sided encounter to place 5th. The man of the match honors went to Jawaid Ahmadi - he scored a total of 34 runs. He was followed by Hashmatullah Shaidi with 23.

Afghanistan's national cricket team was also victorious yesterday.  They defeated Canada once again by 17 runs in a rain-curtailed game. Afghanistan scored a total of 150 runs (8.10 runs per over), and Canada only scored 133 runs (6.65 runs per over). Mohammad Nabi, who was named player of the match, led the pack with 47 runs, followed by Karim Sadiq with 34. Tomorrow, August 11th, Afghanistan will take on Trinidad, and then they will square off once more against Canada on Friday, August 12th before taking on the United States on Saturday, August 13th.

August 7, 2011:  Afghanistan defeats Canada again


Player of the match, Shabir Noori

Afghanistan's national cricket team played beautifully today as they defeated Canada by 2 wickets (with 11 balls remaining) in the 3rd One Day International (ODI) match between Afghanistan and Canada in King City. Canada at one point did try to make a comeback, but the Afghan team held strong and secured another victory against the Canadians. On Friday, Afghanistan had defeated Canada in their four-day Intercontinental Cup fixture by 9 wickets. Shabir Noori scored 94 runs in this game and secured himself the player of the match honors. He was followed by Mohammad Nabi with 58 and Nawroz Mangal with 34. Afghanistan will next play their 4th ODI against Canada on Tuesday, August 9th. Then they will take on Trinidad on Thursday, August 11th.

August 7, 2011: Back to back wins for Afghanistan's U-19 cricket team


Jawaid Ahmadi

After some painful losses, it seemed like that Afghanistan's U-19 cricket team would be out of the ICC Under-19 World Cup, but a win yesterday and and today still gives them a chance to to qualify for the World Cup.  The ICC Under-19 World Cup is scheduled to be held in Australia in 2012, in which 16 teams will participate.

Yesterday, they beat Kenya by 9 wickets (with 32 balls remaining). Hashmatullah Shaidi scored 63 runs for the team and Jawaid Ahmadi scored 86 runs, thus securing him the man of the Match of the Match award. Overall, the Afghan team scored 155 runs. Kenya scored 154.

Then today, the team secured a win against Vanuatu by defeating them by 9 wickets (with 202 balls remaining). Overall, the team from Vanuatu scored 111 runs while Afghanistan scored 116 runs. Again, Jawaid Ahmadi scored the highest runs with 68, followed by Hashmatullah Shaidi with 31. Sayed Shirzad was given the Man of the Match award for his outstanding bowling in the game.

August 5, 2011: Cricket News: National team defeats Canada but U-19 team loses to Scotland


Hamid Hassan

Afghanistan's national cricket team ended their four-day Intercontinental Cup fixture against Canada by defeating them by 9 wickets. Most commentator agree that Canada never really recovered from Hamid Hassan's blitz on day 1.  In Canada's second innings, he picked up 3 more wickets, giving him match figures of 10 for 85. Hassan was given the man of the match award for his outstanding playing. The team will be celebrating the win for now, but on Sunday they will be back at it again against Canada for the One Day International (ODI) match. View scorecard.

Unfortunately, the U-19 team cricket didn't do as great today. After defeating Namibia on Wednesday by 1 wicket, they fell to Scotland today by 33 runs in the  ICC Under-19 World Cup Qualifiers. Scotland ended with 218 runs (4.36 runs per over) and Afghanistan ended with only 185 runs (3.86 runs per over).  Even though, Afsar Khan scored the most runs in the game with 84, it still wasn't enough to win the game. However, he was given the man of the match honors.  Tomorrow, Afghanistan will take on Kenya, hopefully, they will have better luck. View scorecard.

August 3, 2011: Afghanistan's U-19 cricket team win another match; national team doing well against Canada

Afghanistan's U-19 team defeated Namibia today by 1 wicket (with 1 ball remaining) to prevent another loss in the  ICC Under-19 World Cup Qualifiers. Namibia scored 208 runs (4.16 runs per over), and Afghanistan scored 211 (4.23 runs per over).  The player of the match award went to Nasir Ahmadzai who scored 64 runs (not out). The second highest scorer was Hashmatullah Shaidi with 32, followed by Shir Shirzai with 24. Afghanistan will next play against Scotland on August 5th. Click here for today's scorecard.

In other cricket news, Afghanistan's national cricket team is doing well against Canada in their four-day Intercontinental Cup fixture. They are definitely in control so far in this game. As of today, Canada is trailing by 272 runs with 6 wickets remaining in the 1st innings. The match started on August 2nd and will continue till August 5th. View scorecard.

August 1, 2011: Yet another loss for Afghanistan's U-19 cricket team; National team to play against Canada

Just when Afghan cricket fans thought things were going to turn around for their U-19 team at the  ICC Under-19 World Cup Qualifiers, the team was given their third loss today, this time at the hands of the United States. The Afghan team lost their first two games and then yesterday pulled off a win against Papua New Guinea, however, they lost by 3 wickets (with 6 balls remaining) today to the United States' U-19 cricket team. On Wednesday, August 3rd, the team will try for second win against Namibia.  Click here for scorecard.

In other cricket news, Afghanistan's national cricket team will play a four-day Intercontinental Cup fixture against Canada. The dates are from August 2nd to August 5th, and they will play in King City.

Here are the squads for the event:

Canada: Jimmy Hansra (captain), Harvir Baidwan, Khurram Chohan, Parth Desai, Tyson Gordon, Ruvindu Gunasekera, Zahid Hussain, Usman Limbada, Henry Osinde, Hiral Patel, Junaid Siddiqui, Zeeshan Siddiqui, Zubin Surkari, Hamza Tariq.

Afghanistan: Nawroz Mangal (captain), Amir Hamza Hotak, Asghar Stanikzai, Dollat Zadran, Hamid Hassan, Izzatullah Dawlatzai, Karim Khan Sadiq, Mirwais Ashraf, Mohammed Nabi, Mohammad Shahzad, Noor Ali Zadran, Samiullah Shinwari, Shabir Noori, Shapoor Zadran.
 

July 31, 2011: Cricket News: Afghanistan's U-19 team finally get a win

After losing two games in a row in the ICC Under-19 World Cup Qualifiers, the Afghan U-19 team finally got their first win today.  They defeated Papua New Guinea by 6 wickets (with 46 balls remaining).

At the end of the match, Papua New Guinea ended up with 228 runs (4.57 runs per over), and Afghanistan ended up with 232 runs (5.48 runs per over).  The top batsmen from Afghanistan were Jawaid Ahmadi with 81 runs, Nasir Ahmadzai with 44 and Najibullah Zadran with 41. Ahmadi's 81 runs secured him the Player of the Match status. "We were under a lot of pressure after losing the first two games," said Ahmadi. "This time I wanted to bat big and hold an end up. I did not want a repeat of the first two games, where we chased and lost. Thankfully it went well for us and we are now back in the race."

Tomorrow,  Afghanistan takes on the United States.
 

July 29, 2011: Cricket News: Ireland gives Afghanistan their second loss

Afghanistan took on Ireland today in their second game of the ICC Under-19 World Cup Qualifiers, and unfortunately lost again, this time by 4 runs. Ireland ended up with 212 runs (4.24 runs per over), and Afghanistan was close with 208 (4.16 runs per over). Hasmatullah Shaidi and Rahmatullah Sahaq both scored 46 runs each, followed by Nasir Ahmadzai with 42. 

According to Cricinfo, "it all boiled down to a six to win off the last ball, but Najibullah Zadran who had hustled to 28 off 20 balls, was yorked by Joshua Hall to give Ireland victory."

The game was played at the played at The Inch, in Dublin, Ireland. On Sunday, Afghanistan takes on Papua New Guinea..

July 28, 2011: Cricket News: Afghanistan loses first match at the ICC U-19 World Cup Qualifiers

In the first game of the ICC Under-19 World Cup Qualifier, Afghanistan took on Nepal, and unfortunately lost by 42 runs. At the end of the match, Nepal ended up with 154 runs (3.46 runs per over) and Afghanistan ended up with 112 runs (2.88 runs per over). The highest came from Javed Ahmadi who scored 29 runs, followed by Mohibullah Paak with 24, and Shir Shirzai with 21. The game was played at the Observatory Lane, Rathmines, in Dubin, Ireland. Tomorrow, Afghanistan takes on Ireland. Nepal will take on Scotland.

The top two teams from the five ICC regions are competing in the qualifiers, out of which top six will qualify for the World Cup. Besides Afghanistan and Nepal, the other participating teams are the US, Canada, Namibia, Kenya, Ireland, Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu.

July 28, 2011: Cycle race held in Khost province

A seven kilometer bicycle race was held in the province of Khost, Pajhwok Afghan News (PAN) reported today. More than 60 cyclists raced from the Ismael Kheil district to Khost City. Sher Ragha came in first, Rafiqullah in second and Noorullah came in third, according to the PAN report. One of the purposes of holding this event was to complete the first step in picking cyclists for the national team.

July 24, 2011: Afghans inaugurate their first ever international cricket stadium

Yesterday, a ceremony was held to celebrate the completion of the first phase of the international cricket stadium that is being built in Afghanistan's eastern province of Nangarhar. The stadium is in the Ghazi Amanullah Khan township. Omar Zakhilwal, the chairman of the Afghanistan Cricket Board and Afghanistan's Finance Minister, Gul Agha Sherzai, the governor of the province, as well as other officials attended the ceremony. The cost of the project is estimate to be US$1.8 million. To mark the occasion, the national team played a friendly 20Twenty match against the Under 19 club. On their Facebook page, the Afghanistan Cricket Board said that "the stadium was packed and about 20,000 people came" for the event.

July 18, 2011: Afghanistan's national water polo team to make first international training trip

Afghanistan's national water polo will travel to the United States in November of this year for their first international training trip, Donna Lusitana, the Media Director of Afghanistan Water Polo, said today in a press release. Afghanistan Water Polo is the governing body of water polo in Afghanistan; it was created to promote and develop the sport in the country. According to Lusitana, "the team will travel throughout Southern California and train with college teams and USA Water Polo youth and master’s club teams. The team will also attend speaking engagements and interviews with local community and professional organizations, and participate in volunteer and outreach programs."

July 17, 2011: Report: Fencing competition starts in Kabul

Tolo news reported today that a four day fencing competition started today Kabul. It is being organized by the Afghan Fencing Federation, which was formed 5 years ago.  According to the report, 100 fencers from 4 clubs are participating, and at the end of the event, 30 of the top fencers will be chosen to be part of the Kabul fencing team.  The Director of the Afghan Fencing Federation told Tolo news that "another round of fencing championships will be held in three months between 8 provinces in Kabul".

July 16, 2011: Afghanistan sends only one fighter to the 10th Asian Karate Championships

An Afghan team of one will be be participating in the 10th Asian Karate Championships from July 16-25 in Quanzhou, China. Sayed Mohammad Amiry will be the only athlete representing Afghanistan because of lack of finances, the head of Afghanistan's Karate Federation told Tolo news. Amiry will be accompanied by a referee and an administrative official. According to the Tolo new report, alongside the competitions, there will be a first level Referee Training Workshop.

July 12, 2011: Report: Afghan MMA fighter to be a coach on an American reality show


Siyar "The Great" Bahadurzada

MMAjunkie.com reported today that Afghan Mixed Martial Arts fighter, Siyar "The Great" Bahadurzada, who recently won the United Glory - 2010-2011 World Series welterweight title, will be a striking coach in the upcoming season of the Ultimate Fighter reality show. The Ultimate Fighter is an American reality TV show and mixed martial arts (MMA) competition. It airs on Spike TV and is produced by Spike TV and the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).

According to the report, Bahadurzada will be serving as a striking coach for Team Jason "Mayhem" Miller on the 14th season of the show. They will be going up against Michael Bisping, a trash talking British fighter who had been a head coach on a previous season. The first episode is scheduled to be shown on September 21, 2011.

July 7, 2011: Afghanistan to compete in the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup Qualifier

Earlier this week, the ICC (International Cricket Council) announced the 14-man squads for the 10 teams that will be participating in upcoming ICC Under 19 Cricket World Cup Qualifier in Ireland. Afghanistan will be one of the 10 teams that will be participating in the competitions. The others teams are: Ireland, Canada, Kenya, Namibia, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Scotland, USA, and Vanuatu.

The Afghan team members will be: Shir M. Shirzi (captain), M Jawed Ahmadi, Mohammad Y. Ahmadzai, Nasir J. Ahmadzai, Younas K. Ahmadzai, Aftab Alam, Abdur R Mangal, Abdul R.K. Naseri, Mohibullah Paak, Rahmatullah Sahaq, Hashmatullah Shaidi, Sayed A. Shirzad, Najibullah Zadran, and Afsar K. Zazai

Schedule for the Afghan team

July 28: Afghanistan vs. Nepal
July 29: Afghanistan vs. Ireland
July 31: Afghanistan vs. Papua New Guinea
August 1: Afghanistan vs. USA
August 3: Afghanistan vs. Namibia
August 5: Afghanistan vs. Scotland
August 6: Afghanistan vs. Kenya
August 7: Afghanistan vs. Vanuatu
August 9: Afghanistan vs. Canada

July 4, 2011: Afghan cricket team arrives in Sri Lanka; likely to participate in Pakistan's domestic Twenty20 event later this year

Afghanistan's national cricket team has arrived in Sri Lanka, where they will play some friendly practice matches before they head off to Canada to defend their title in the upcoming 2011-13 ICC Intercontinental Cup. The game will be played August 2-5. The teams will also play two ODIs and two Twenty20 internationals. Afghanistan became the champions after defeating Scotland in the 2009-10 edition of the tournament. The coach of the team for now will be Iqbal Sikander, a Pakistani national, an official from the Afghanistan Cricket Board, Farid Hotak, told Pajhwok Afghan News today.

Afghan cricketers may also participate in Pakistan's domestic Twenty20 event later this year, an official from the Pakistan Cricket Board told the media today. Apparently, Afghanistan submitted a request to participate in the event.  "We are considering that and they are likely to feature in our event in September-October this year and I hope they add to the glamour of the event," the official told AFP.  If Afghanistan actually joins the event, there will be a total of 14 teams participating in the event.

July 4, 2011: Report: Kabul Stadium to be artificially greened


Photo: Bakhtar News Agency

Afghanistan's Bakhtar News Agency reported today that Kabul Sports Stadium will be artificially greened. According to the report, the project will be cost $800,000, and it will be funded by NATO. Usually, an artificial turf is put in because of the high amount maintenance that comes with natural grass. Artificial turf resists heavy use and it requires no irrigation or trimming.

July 3, 2011: Second football game between Palestine and Afghanistan ends in a draw

Palestine and Afghanistan ended in a 1-1 draw in the second game of the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers. It was a historic game, because the game was played in Palestine's Faisal Al Huseni Stadium. The first goal of the game was scored by Hasam Wadi in the 11th minute and Afghanistan's goal came in at the 77th minute by Balal Arezou.

Because Palestine won the first game 2-0, giving them a 3-1 aggregate win, the Palestinians will advance to the next round of Asia's preliminary qualifying for the 2014 World Cup. Unfortunately, it is over for Afghanistan's national football team.

June 29, 2011: Palestine defeats Afghanistan in football

This is bad news for Afghan football fans. Today in Tajikistan at the World Cup Qualifiers, Palestine defeated Afghanistan by a score of 2-0. The first goal was scored by Muran Alyan in the 28th minute and the second was scored by Ismail Alamour in the closing stages of the second half. The two teams will meet again on Sunday. This game was technically Afghanistan's home game but it had to be played in Tajikistan due to security and logistical difficulties of playing the game inside Afghanistan.

June 27, 2011: What it takes to be a Buzkashi player

This is a VOA in Dari report about the sport of Buzkashi in Afghanistan.


 

June 24, 2011: Cycle Race Held In Afghanistan

A race for for bikers to qualify for Afghanistan's national cycling team started on Monday of this week and came to a conclusion on Wednesday evening. The race started from Kabul and ended in Afghanistan's northern province of Badakhshan. The cyclists covered a total of 540 kilometers (335.5 miles).

The race was held in 5 phases. First the cyclists raced a 65 kilometer distance from Kabul to the Jabal-u-Siraj district of central Parwan province. From there, they raced to the district of Pul-i-Khumri in Baghlan province, a distance of 145 kilometers. After that they raced to Kunduz, then to Takhar and finally to Faizabad, the capital of Badakhshan province. According to Afghan media reports, there were around 200 competitors participating, including 20 women from 15 different provinces.

In the end, well known Afghan biker, Hashmatullah Barakzai (from Wardak), came in first position, followed by Hashmatullah Tokhi (from Kabul), and in third came Ramin Raufi (from Balkh). The top 15 cyclists qualified for the national team. The team is expected to participate in the upcoming 2012 South Asian games scheduled to be held in Delhi, India.
 

June 21, 2011: Skateboarding in Afghanistan

This is a VOA in Dari report about a recent skateboarding event in Afghanistan.


 

June 19, 2011: Afghanistan takes on Tajikistan in handball

This is a VOA in Dari report about a recent friendly handball game between Tajikistan and Afghanistan.


 

June 13, 2011: Rashid Latif Resigns!

Pajhwok Afghan News reported today that Rashid Latif, the head coach of Afghanistan's national cricket team, has resigned, and that the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) has accepted his resignation. According to the report, Latif "refused to accompany the national squad to Canada, where they are to play a four-day match." Latif's contract was due to expire on July 20th.  According to a recent report from the Pakistani newspaper, The News, the ACB was upset with Latif for not wanting to attend a training camp in Sri Lanka, in preparation for the Inter-continental Cup. Instead, reportedly, Latif wanted to travel to England where he has signed up with a club as a mentor. 
 

June 12, 2011: Powerlifting competitions begin in Kabul

Powerlifting competitions in which 500 competitors are expected to participate began in Kabul, according to a report from Tolo news today. The event is scheduled for 3 days. Mohammad Nasim Amin, the Secretary General of Afghanistan's Powerlifting Federation told Tolo news that the "the purpose of these competitions is to select top players for the upcoming Asian Power Lifting Championship to be held in China among 46 nations."  The Powerlifting Federation of Afghanistan was formed last year, according to the report.
 

June 11, 2011: Afghanistan To Participate In Beach Kabaddi Championship

Afghanistan's national kabbadi team has left today to participate in the upcoming International Beach Kabaddi Championship that is scheduled to begin on June 13th in Islamabad, Pakistan. Eight teams are scheduled to participate in the event.

Kabaddi is combat sport that is played either indoors or outdoors on a rectangular court. It was invented in India. The teams start out on opposite sides and a player from one team "raids" the other team's side by touching as many defense players as possible without getting caught on a single breath. Then the player tries to return home. Some have described it as a combination of rugby and wrestling.

Afghanistan is a member of both the Asian Kabaddi Federation and the International Kabaddi Federation.
 

June 10, 2011: Latif: Some Afghan cricket players "deliberately underperformed" against Pakistan

Cricinfo reported yesterday that the coach of Afghanistan's national cricket team suspects some of the Afghan players "deliberately underperformed" when they took on the Pakistan A team  recently, so they can have him be removed and Kabir Khan reinstalled as coach. Afghanistan lost the series against the second string Pakistan A team 3-0.

Latif's contract expires on July 31st and some speculate it may not be extended due to issues and differences between him and the Afghanistan Cricket Board members. However, Afghanistan’s team manager Sahif Aswat, told Cricinfo that "the dressing room atmosphere was generally pleasant and there were no disagreements". "The players respect Latif as the coach," Aswat told Cricinfo.

Kabir Khan stepped down as coach back in August 2010. He currently coaches the United Arab Emirates' team.
 

June 8, 2011: Afghan volleyball news

Tolo news reported today that Afghanistan's national female volleyball team will go to Tajikistan tomorrow (June 9, 2011) to participate in "friendly matches with the host nation's female volleyball team." According to the report, a total of 16 players, 3 coaches and 3 other representatives will fly to Tajikistan. The report said that this is the first time that the Afghan national women's team will go abroad for practice sessions.

3 members of Afghanistan's Volleyball Federation will also fly to Tajikistan to discuss the establishment of a Afghan-Tajikistani Volleyball Development Center. "We have decided to sign an agreement between the two countries so we can exchange trainers." Mohammad Yonus Popalzai, Head of the Afghan Volleyball Federation said.
 

June 7, 2011: Video: Rugby in Afghanistan

This is a VOA in Dari coverage of rugby in Afghanistan. Zafar Khan, an Afghan who has played for the Indian national rugby team provides his opinion of the new Afghan players.


June 5, 2011: Construction starts on a new golf course

Afghanistan's Golf Federation announced today that a new professional golf course will be built in Kabul. The cost of the project is expected to be 27 million afghanis and it will take 1 year to complete the project. Afghanistan's Olympic Committee and the head of Afghanistan's Golf Federation was present in a ceremony marking the start of the construction. Afghanistan's Golf Federation is hoping the sport of golf spreads throughout the country and the sport is further developed in the country.
 

June 5, 2011: Boxing competition starts in Kabul

Afghanistan's Tolo news reported today that a boxing competition has started in Kabul today in the Boxing Federation Hall. The competition is expected to last for 3 days. Around 140 boxers are expected to participate in the event, and according to the report, 26 top boxers will be chosen to be part of the Kabul boxing team. Organizers and boxers are hoping that with more events like this, the sport will develop not just in Kabul, but throughout the whole country.
 

June 5, 2011: Video: Women's football in Afghanistan

This is a VOA in Dari report about the status of women's football (soccer) in Afghanistan.


 

June 4, 2011: Afghans win gold medals at the 8th South Asian Bodybuilding Championships


Afghan bodybuilder

The 8th South Asian Bodybuilding Championships started on June 1st in Thimphu, Bhutan and is coming to a close.  Afghanistan's Tolo news reported today that the Afghan national bodybuilding team has won 3 gold medals, 3 silver medals and 2 bronze medals. According to the report, the Afghan gold medalists were: Shukrullah (90 kg), Hamidullah Shirzad (80 kg) and Zemarai (75 kg). The report added that the team will also participate in the upcoming Asian Body Building Championships in two months.
 

June 3, 2011: New gymnasium to be built in Ghazni province

The foundation stones have been laid down and work has started on a new sports gymnasium in Afghanistan's eastern province of Ghazni. The new structure will be spread over an acre of land and will cost $264,000 to be built. Funding for the project is being provided by Afghanistan's Ministry of Counternarcotics. According to Afghan officials, the gymnasium is expected to be completed in 10-11 months. Once completed, it will be able to accommodate up to 700 spectators.
 

May 29, 2011: Pakistan sweeps three-match limited overs series against Afghanistan


Karim Sadiq

Today at Iqbal Stadium, in Faisalabad, Pakistan, the Pakistan A team (second string) defeated Afghanistan's national team by 4 wickets in the final match to seal a 3-0 one-day series triumph.

Afghanistan won the toss and chose to bat first. They made a decent start and kept a steady pressure, Noor Ali Zadran even scored a half-century.  Unfortunately, it was not enough to win the game. Overall, the Afghan team scored 274 runs, the highest scorers were Noor Ali Zadran with 51, Karim Sadiq (not out) with 42, and Mirwais Ashraf and Shabir Noori scored 31 runs each.  The Pakistan A team scored a total of 278 runs.

Many Afghan fans were disappointed with the 3-0 shut out of the national cricket by a second string Pakistani team. Many believe that despite their outstanding successes in such a short amount of time, their performance against the Pakistan A team clearly shows they are not ready yet to take on the big names of the sport such as India and South Africa. Despite this, Nawroz Mangal, the captain of Afghanistan's team, remains hopeful, and described the tour as "useful".  "It was disappointing to lose from a position of strength in the last match," he told AFP. "Overall it was a tour which has taught us many lessons and with more and more exposure against the top teams we will improve."

Click here to view scorecard.
 

May 28, 2011: Afghan MMA fighter wins another title

Afghan Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter and Shooto Light Heavyweight World Champion, Siyar "The Great" Bahadurzada, defeated Tommy "Scarface" Depret on Saturday in the second round by way of TKO (Knee and Punches) in the the United Glory - 2010-2011 World Series Finals to become the welterweight champion. For winning the competition, Bahadurzada was given the prize of $150,000.

In the United Glory competition, his first fight was against Derrick Noble on October 16, 2010; he defeated Noble by TKO in the first round. Next, he took on John Alessio, and beat him via TKO in the first round as well. Finally, in the finals, which was held in Moscow, Russia, he finished off Depret.

With this win, Bahadurzada improves his record to 20 wins, 4 losses and 1 draw. With his loss, Depret drops to 9 wins and 4 losses.
 

May 27, 2011: Afghanistan loses another game to Pakistan in cricket

It was bad news again for Afghanistan's national cricket team, as the Pakistan A (second string) team defeated them by a whopping 150 runs in the second game of  a three-match limited-overs series.

The Associated Press reported that Pakistan's "opening batsmen Sharjeel Khan (64) and Babar Azam (63) racked up half centuries while Umar Amin (64) and Sarfraz Ahmed (46 not out) also contributed to an imposing Pakistan A total of 327-7 off 50 overs." Overall, it was a solid batting performance. For Afghanistan, Captain Nowroz Mangal, and Jawaid Ahmadi both scored 29 runs, and Samiullah Shenwari scored 61. The Afghans ended up with only 177 runs, 150 behind Pakistan's 327 total.

In the first match, Pakistan defeated Afghanistan by 5 wickets.  The last game of the series is scheduled for May 29th in Iqbal Stadium, Faisalabad.

Click here to view scorecard.
 

May 25, 2011: Afghanistan loses to Pakistan in cricket


Man of the Match Mohammad Nabil

Pakistan A team (second string) defeated Afghanistan's national cricket team today by 5 wickets in Islamabad in the first game of a three-match limited-overs series.

Afghanistan won the toss and chose to bat first, but according to Cricinfo, "they lost wickets in a hurry early on, being reduced to 13 for 3 by the left-arm pace bowling of Sohail Tanvir and Sadaf Hussain". The top scorers for Afghanistan were Mohammad Nabi with 72 runs and captain Nawroz Mangal with 33 runs. Overall, Afghanistan managed to score 152 runs.  The Pakistani A team, lead by all-rounder Sohail Tanveer, managed to score 154 runs.

Despite the loss of his team, Afghan player Mohammad Nabi was named Man of the match.

The next match will be on May 27th in Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium, and then the final match will be played on May 29th in Iqbal Stadium, Faisalabad.

Click here to view scorecard.
 

May 20, 2011: Changes in upcoming cricket matches between Pakistan and Afghanistan

This week, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) announced a change in the scheduled matches between Afghanistan and Pakistan A team. The new schedule is as follows:

1st match on 25th May in Diamond Ground, Islamabad, Pakistan
2nd match on 27th May in Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium, Rawalpindi, Pakistan
3rd match on 29th May in Iqbal Stadium, Faisalabad, Pakistan

The Afghan team is scheduled to arrive in Islamabad on May 24th. Initially, the final fixture was set for May 29th in Abbottabad, the city near Islamabad where Osama bin Laden was killed earlier this month by US forces.

AFP reported this week, that all-rounder Sohail Tanveer will lead Pakistan's A team, which will be comprised of "young players who have either been left out of the first team or are being nurtured as future talent".
 

May 20, 2011: Afghanistan rise in FIFA rankings


Afghanistan's national football team

Thanks to victories over Bhutan and Sri Lanka this year, Afghanistan's football team rose up in the FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) rankings to 164th place.  On March 23rd, they beat Bhutan 3-0, then on March 25th, they beat Bhutan 2-0, and then on April 9th, they defeated Sri Lanka 1-0.  Now they are only one place behind Bangladesh and ahead of countries like Vanuatu and Nicaragua. Afghanistan's next games are against Palestine, scheduled for June 29th and July 3rd.
 

May 17, 2011: Afghan Rugby Camp To Be Held In Kabul This Month


Afghanistan Rugby Federation Logo

Afghanistan's Rugby Federation announced today that a special rugby camp will be held at the National Ghazi Sports Stadium in Kabul from May 20th to 30th. According to the announcement, the camp will be run by Zafar Khan, an Afghan who has played for the Indian national rugby team. "The aim of this month's camp is to introduce rugby to Afghans and to start selecting a national team, as well as junior team", said Abdul Khalil Bik, the director of the Afghanistan Rugby Federation. The president of the federation, Mohammad Mansoor Majid said that, "Afghans are ideally suited for the game. They are physically fit, dynamic and energetic."
 

May 16, 2011: Wrestling Competition Concludes In Kabul

This is a VOA in Dari video report about a recent wrestling competition that was held in Kabul. According to the report, 92 Afghan wrestlers competed in the event. One complaint an Afghan wrestler had was that not enough of these competitions are being held in the country.


 

May 15, 2011: Women's Volleyball News

This is a VOA in Dari video about a women's volleyball competition held in Afghanistan.


 

May 13, 2011: Schedule for upcoming Pakistan vs. Afghanistan Cricket Matches

Three-match 50-overs series between Afghanistan and the Pakistan.

1st match on 25th May in Faisalabad, Pakistan
2nd match on 27th May in Rawalpindi, Pakistan
3rd match on 29th May in Abbottabad, Pakistan

After this, the Pakistan A team will travel to Afghanistan for a return series, and will play in the inaugural match at the newly built international stadium in Nangarhar province.
 

May 9, 2011: Helmandi wins bodybuilding competition

This is a VOA in Dari report about a recent bodybuilding competition held in Afghanistan. A bodybuilder from the province of Helmand won the title.


 

May 5, 2011: Buzkashi Game Held In Kabul

This is a VOA in Dari report about a group of Americans coming to Kabul to watch a Buzkashi game. Buzkashi is considered the national sport of Afghanistan. Click here to learn more about the sport of Buzkashi.


 

May 1, 2011: Disabled Afghan Cricket Game

This is a VOA in Dari report about disabled Afghans playing the sport of cricket. Despite the lack of adequate facilities and funding, these Afghans enjoy the sport and would love to play in the international arena.


 

April 30, 2011: Pakistan rejects Afghanistan's request for a match between national cricket teams, instead offers Pakistan A team


Afghan Cricket Team

Pakistan's Cricket Board (PCB) today rejected a request from Afghanistan's Cricket Board (ACB) to host a one-day serious between the two national teams, the Press Trust of India reported today. "We explained to the Afghanistan officials that it was not possible for our national team to play the ODI series this year due to its international schedule and domestic season requirements," a PCB official said.

Instead of the national team, the PCB offered their Pakistan A team, and Afghanistan has accepted. According to an ESPN report today, Afghanistan's national team will play three 50-over matches against Pakistan A this summer. Afghanistan has also invited the Pakistani team to come to Afghanistan to play in the inaugural match at the newly built international stadium in Nangarhar province.
 

April 28, 2011: Conflict between Afghanistan's Football Federation and National Olympic Committee

Afghanistan's Football Federation (AFF), which controls Afghanistan's national football team, and the National Olympic Committee (NOC) are at odds over who controls what. The AFF is arguing that they are an independent organization under the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), and they don't need the Olympic Committee's permission or approval over decisions they make. They see it as an interference. However, the NOC says that they are responsible for keeping an eye on the federation's affairs.

The NOC is investigating damages to a building formerly used by the AFF. According to a report from Pajhwok Afghan News, an NOC official stated that "the federation had inflicted a loss of nearly $20,000 (908,800 afghanis) on the committee".

Below is a VOA Dari report regarding the issue.


 

April 24, 2011: Video: Afghan girls doing Karate

Video report from VOA in Dari about Afghan girl's doing Karate.


 

April 24, 2011: Female Afghan boxers competing at AIBA (International Boxing Association) World Youth and Junior Championships


Afghan women boxers practicing in Kabul

Two female Afghan boxers are competing in the inaugural A.I.B.A (International Boxing Association) World Youth and Junior Championships currently taking place in Antalya, Turkey. Afghanistan's Boxing Federation has sent Sadaf Rahimi and Shogofa Haidarzada to participate in the event. Some 264 young women boxers from 45 different countries will be participating in the event. Afghanistan is a newcomer to the world of women's boxing, but Afghan fans have a high hopes that their fighters will do well.
 

April 23, 2011: Afghan Handball Wrap Up

Afghanistan's handball team recently participated in the International Invitational Handball Tournament from April 15-17 in Faisalabad, Pakistan. Two teams from Pakistan, Tajikistan and Afghanistan participated in event. At the end of the event, the two teams from Pakistan finished first and second, Afghanistan finished in third place, and Tajikistan in fourth.

After the tournament was over, Afghanistan played a friendly game against the Government College University Lahore (GCUL) team on Wednesday, April 20th. Afghanistan won the match 29-28.

Handball is a sport in which 2 teams, consisting of 7 players (six field players plus one goalkeeper), pass a ball to throw it into the goal of the opposing team. The team who scores the most goals after 2 periods wins. Each period last 30 minutes. Handball is not as popular as cricket or football (soccer), however, the sport is gaining popularity, especially in the major cities. In 2004, Afghanistan's Handball Federation became a member of the International Handball Federation.

The President of Afghanistan's Handball Federation is Mohammad Yousuf Niazi and the Secretary General is Mohammad Khalid Yousufzai.

Afghanistan's current team members are: Ahmad Shah, Abdulmarof Satari, Abdurahman Shabaze, Syed Abdurahim Ahmied, Muhammad Bashir Afzali, Basir Ahmad Naori, Mohammad Naem Qayumi, Murtaz Mahmoudi, Mohammad Alam Nawrozi, Shafi Tajzada, Mohammad Sabir Safi, Masoud Khawar, Mirwais Bahar, Ahmad Zubair Azizi, Jawid Kahwar, Amin Jan Azami, Nawid Roza Amini and Mohammad Bashir Salimi.
 

April 19, 2011: Afghan Martial Arts News - Muaythai team clinch 4 medals; Karate team off to Denmark

At the end of the 2011 Muay Thai Open Asian Championships in Kish Island, Iran, Afghanistan ended up with four bronze medals, Amir H. Hussaini, the president of Afghanistan's National Federation of Muaythai told Afghanistan Online via email today.

Afghanistan had sent 8 athletes and a 3-member official delegation to the event which was held from April 15th to 19th. The Afghan athletes were: Asad (45kg), Abdullah Amiri (48kg), Jafar (54kg), Abdul Qayum Safari (57kg), Jalal Arab (60kg), Jawaid Hasani (63.5kg), Zulfiqar (67kg) and Mansur Ibrahimi (75kg). The winners of the bronze medals were: Abdullah Amiri (48kg), Jafar (54 kg), Jawaid Hasani (63.5kg) and Mansur Ibrahimi (75 kg).

The event was hosted by the Iranian Muaythai Association, and 28 countries participated.

In other martial arts news, Afghanistan's Asia-Karate National Team left yesterday for Denmark to participate in the 17th round of the world championships, according to Bakhtar News Agency. The event will start on April 21st and last until April 25th. Afghanistan sent a total of 8 athletes to the event.
 

April 18, 2011: Bodybuilding Competition in Afghanistan

Video report from VOA in Dari about a bodybuilding contest that was held in Afghanistan.



April 17, 2011: Afghanistan defeats Nepal in South Asian baseball game

After losing to both Pakistan and Sri Lanka, Afghanistan came back yesterday and defeated Nepal by a score of 19-11 in the  first South Asian Baseball Championship (also known as the SAARC Baseball Cup). Both teams played well, and Nepal even took the lead, but Afghanistan's batters scored 10 runs in the third inning which pretty much sealed up the game for them.  The final run for Afghanistan came in the 9th inning at the hands of Sher Jan.  Today's game was played in Lahore’s Punjab Stadium.

The event is being organized by Pakistan's Baseball Federation (PBF). Besides Pakistan and Afghanistan, there are only 2 other countries participating in the event: Nepal and Sri Lanka.  Countries like Bangladesh and India turned down the invitation to participate in the event.

Afghans are new to the sport of baseball.  In January of this year, they joined Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Pakistan to create the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Baseball Federation (BBF).
 

April 16, 2011: Afghan Muaythai fighters in Iran, participating in the 2011 Open Asian Championships

Afghanistan's Muaythai team is currently in Kish Island, Iran participating in the 2011 Open Asian Championships, Amir H. Hussaini, the president of Afghanistan's National Federation of Muaythai told Afghanistan Online via email today. The event started yesterday and will end on April 19th. It is being hosted by the Iranian Muaythai Association. There are 28 countries that are participating in event. From Afghanistan, there are 8 athletes and a 3-member official delegation.

Delegation consists of: Mohammad Hussein Sadiqi, Mohammad Dawood Haidari, and Mohammad Tahir Ahmadi.

The Afghan athletes are: Asad (45kg), Abdullah Amiri (48kg), Jafar (54kg), Abdul Qayum Safari (57kg), Jalal Arab (60kg), Jawaid Hasani (63.5kg), Zulfiqar (67kg) and Mansur Ibrahimi (75kg).

Late last year, in the 11th World Muaythai Championships (held from November 27th to December 5th), Afghan fighter Mansur Ibrahimi won a bronze medal in the 75kg category.


Afghan fighters (in red) and official posing at the event.
Photo c
ourtesy of Amir H. Hussaini, President of Afghanistan National Federation of Muaythai
 

April 16, 2011: New gymnasium in Kabul and a new sports stadium in Parwan to be built

A gymnasium will be built in Kabul, and a sports stadium will be built in Parwan province, according to a report today from Pajhwok Afghan News (PAN). Both projects will be funded by the Faisal Welfare Foundation. 

The half-acre gymnasium will take 6 months to complete and it will be equipped with modern tools, the director of the foundation, Gul Aqa Faisal, told Pajhwok Afghan News.

The sports stadium will be built in the Jabal Saraj district of Parwan province, and it will have the capacity to hold 18,000 people.  The project is expected to be completed in one year.
 

April 13, 2011: Afghanistan loses South Asian baseball game

In the opening match of the first South Asian Baseball Championship (also known as the SAARC Baseball Cup), Pakistan defeated Afghanistan by a whopping score of 21-1.

The loss is understandable, since Afghans are fairly new to the sport, and Pakistan is one of South Asia’s top-ranked teams. The Pakistanis scored 14 runs in the first inning, 6 in the second and 1 in the third. Afghanistan hit a homerun in the third inning, thus preventing a total shut out.

The event is being organized by Pakistan's Baseball Federation (PBF). Besides Pakistan and Afghanistan, there are only 2 other countries participating in the event: Nepal and Sri Lanka.  Countries like Bangladesh and India turned down the invitation to participate in the event.

The matches will be played on a single league basis until April 17th, and then the team with the most points will be declared the winner.

Today's game was played in Lahore’s Punjab Stadium.
 

April 12, 2011: Afghan-European Football Tournament in Germany


Event Poster

On June 18, 2011, an Afghan-European football tournament is scheduled to be held in Koln, Germany. According to the event organizers, Afghan Euro Sport, 20 teams from across Europe will be participating in the event. The event will also include a live concert, featuring Farhad Shams, Ramin Aatash, and Diba Hakimi.
 

April 11, 2011: Afghanistan loses to North Korea in AFC Challenge Cup qualifiers

Today, Afghanistan lost to North Korea 2-0  in the Group D Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Challenge Cup qualifiers. Choe Kum Chol and Ri Chol Myong scored the goals for North Korea - one in the first half and one in the second half. North Korea and Nepal will advance to the finals.  They will join Palestine, Philippines, India, Turkmenistan, Maldives and Tajikistan in the eight-team finals. Unfortunately, since the Afghan team finished third in the Group D matches, they will not proceed to the next level.

The AFC Challenge Cup is an international football competition for emerging nations (countries that need time to develop their football). All participants are members of the Asian Football Confederation.
 

April 10, 2011: Afghan MMA fighter Abdul Mohamed victorious!


Abdul Mohamed being interviewed after his win over Andrew Fisher on April 9th.
Photo credit: 10th Legion Championship Fighting (www.10thlegionchampionshipfighting.com)

Afghan Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter Abdul Mohamed defeated Andrew Fisher via unanimous decision for the Lightweight World Title (70kg) last night in the 10th Legion Championship Fighting "Symbol of Power" event. According to event organizers, Mohamed won in front of a sold out crowd in Hull, United Kingdom. With this win, Mohamed improves his record to 19 wins, 8 losses and 3 draws.

Mohamed was born in Afghanistan’s north eastern province of Panjshir. He has been fighting professionally since 2003. He used to be the former Cage Rage World Lightweight Champion, and was the Cage Rage British Lightweight Champion until the Cage Rage organization went bankrupt. The folding of the organization left Mohamed as the last ever British Lightweight Champion.
 

April 10, 2011: Traditional wrestling matches in Balkh province

This video showing a few traditional Afghan wrestling matches in Afghanistan's northern province of Balkh was taken by Zameer Saar, and published yesterday by Pajhwok Afghan News. As you can see in the video, unlike western type of wresting, there is very little activity on the ground. The matches are usually quick and end at the first take down.

 

April 9, 2011: Afghanistan loses to Nepal but defeats Sri Lanka in football (soccer)

On Thursday, April 7th, Afghan football fans were disappointed when Afghanistan lost to Nepal 1-0 in their first Group D match of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Challenge Cup qualifiers.

However, today, they made up for that loss by defeating Sri Lanka by 1-0. Mustafa Hadeed scored the match winning goal for Afghanistan in the 82nd minute - after the first half ended. The match was played in Halchowk Stadium - a multi-purpose stadium in Kathmandu, Nepal.

Next, on April 11th, Afghanistan will go up against North Korea, who is also in Group D. The top two teams from the group will join Palestine, Philippines, India, Turkmenistan, Maldives and Tajikistan in the eight-team finals.

The AFC Challenge Cup is an international football competition for emerging nations (countries that need time to develop their football). All participants are members of the Asian Football Confederation.
 

April 3, 2011: Bicycle race to be held in Afghanistan

Afghanistan's Bakhtar News Agency (BAN) reported today that a the bicycle race will be held in Kabul soon.  The event, which is called Jam Arghawan, will start 60km from the headquarters of the Afghan Olympic National Committee and end in Tapa-i-Ghulghondi, in Parwan province. According to the report, 60 riders will participate in the event.

In March, Afghan cyclists participated in the Tour de Pakistan; the riders covered 1,655 km (1,028 miles).  The race began in the Pakistani city of Peshawar and ended in Karachi.
 

April 2, 2011: Afghanistan will play against Palestine in the Asian qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup

This week, the draw for Asia’s first and second round qualifiers for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil was made at Asian Football Confederation (AFC) headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

There are a total of 16 football teams competing in round 1. In that round, Afghanistan will play against Palestine. The first game will be held on June 29th and the second on July 3rd. The winners of the first round will join another 22 teams in round 2, where 15 two-legged ties will be held on July 23rd and July 28th.

"Australia, Korea Republic, Japan, Korea DPR and Bahrain – the confederation’s top five teams in South Africa 2010 qualifying – will automatically enter in Round 3", according to FIFA.

Round 1

Malaysia-Chinese Taipei
Bangladesh-Pakistan
Cambodia-Laos
Sri Lanka-Philippines
Afghanistan-Palestine
Vietnam-Macau
Nepal-Timor-Leste
Mongolia-Myanmar

Round 2

Thailand-Afghanistan or Palestine
Lebanon-Bangladesh or Pakistan
China PR-Cambodia or Laos
Turkmenistan-Indonesia
Kuwait-Sri Lanka or Philippines
Oman-Mongolia or Myanmar
Saudi Arabia-Hong Kong
Iran-Maldives
Syria-Tajikistan
Qatar-Vietnam or Macau
Iraq-Yemen
Singapore-Malaysia or Chinese Taipei
Uzbekistan-Kyrgyzstan
United Arab Emirates-India
Jordan-Nepal or Timor-Leste
 

April 2, 2011: Afghan women's football (soccer) team played a friendly match against ISAF women's football team

Yesterday, the Afghan Women’s International Team and an ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) women’s football team played a friendly football match at ISAF headquarters in Kabul, said a NATO news release today.

The game ended scoreless (0-0).

“We all came together and played together,” said Khalida, chairperson of the Afghan Women’s' Football Committee and also a coach and player for the Afghan team. “The aim of this game was not just to play a game. It was to make friendships and know each other.”

According to the NATO news release, "the match was the second time the two teams have played each other; the first game was in October 2010, and the Afghan Women’s International Team won, 1-0."
 

March 29, 2011: Afghan golfers to compete in South Asian golf tournament

Pajhwok Afghan News (PAN) reported yesterday that two Afghan golfers will participate in the upcoming South Asian golf tournament in Bangladesh. The event is scheduled to start tomorrow, March 30th. The competition will last for 3 days and 8 countries are expected to participate.

According to the report, Hashmatullah Sarwari and Nadir Nadiri will represent Afghanistan. Hashmatullah Sarwari had also played in the Asian Games in Guangzhou, China. Unfortunately, he did win any medals. However, the PAN report did say that 2 Afghan golfers won a bronze medal in the South Asian golf tournament last year.

Golf was first introduced in Afghanistan during the rule of Amir Habibullah, however the first golf club did not open in the country until 1967.
 

March 27, 2011: Afghan MMA fighter Abdul Mohamed to fight on April 9th!

Afghan Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter Abdul Mohamed will be fighting in the 10th Legion Championship Fighting "Symbol of Power" event which is scheduled for Saturday, April 9th in Hull, United Kingdom. He will be fighting Andrew Fisher for the Lightweight World Title (70kg).

Mohamed has a record of 18 wins, 8 losses and 3 draws. In his last fight, he took on Ian Jones and submitted him via Guillotine Choke in the first round. Fisher has a record of 5 wins and 3 losses. In his last fight, he submitted Daryl Jenkins via a Keylock in the first round.

Mohamed was born in Afghanistan’s north eastern province of Panjshir. He has been fighting professionally since 2003. He used to be the former Cage Rage World Lightweight Champion, and was the Cage Rage British Lightweight Champion until the Cage Rage organization went bankrupt. The folding of the organization left Mohamed as the last ever British Lightweight Champion.
 

March 25, 2011: Afghanistan defeats Bhutan again in football - proceeds to qualifying round of AFC Challenge Cup 2012

Afghanistan shut out Bhutan 2-0 in the second game of the Asian Football Confederation's (AFC) Challenge Cup 2012 pre-qualifying round. On Wednesday, when the first game was played, Afghanistan won 3-0. Nadeem Wahid scored the first goal in the 65th minute, and 5 minutes later, Israfeel Kohistani added another goal.

"It was good performance from the boys in both the matches. We will need to perform better in the qualifying round, said Afghanistan's coach, Mohammad Yusuf Kargar. "We have played against Nepal and Sri Lanka earlier, so we do know their style of play. DPR Korea played in the last World Cup and is a very good team, we will need to continue in the same fashion."

With this win against Bhutan, Afghanistan will now move on the qualifying round. They will join North Korea, Nepal and Sri Lanka in Group D of the AFC Challenge Cup qualifying round, which is scheduled to be held from April 7-11 in Kathmandu, Nepal. Overall, there are four qualifying groups of the AFC Challenge Cup 2012: A, B, C and D. Group A consists of Myanmar, Bangladesh, Palestine and Philippines. Group B consists of India, Pakistan, Chinese Taipei and Turkmenistan. Group C consists of Maldives, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Cambodia.

Like Wednesday's match, this match was also played at the Tau Devi Lal Stadium in Gurgaon, India. Because of the security situation in Afghanistan, the AIFF (All India Football Federation) announced that the matches between Bhutan and Afghanistan will be held at the Tau Devi Lal Stadium in Gurgaon, India.

The AFC Challenge Cup is an international football competition for emerging nations (countries that need time to develop their football). All participants are members of the Asian Football Confederation.
 

March 23, 2011: Afghanistan defeats Bhutan 3-0 in football

Afghanistan defeated Bhutan 3-0 today in the Asian Football Confederation's (AFC) Challenge Cup pre-qualifying football (soccer) match. The match was played at the Tau Devi Lal Stadium in Gurgaon, India. Mohammad Sediq Walizada scored all three goals, the first in the second minute, then one at the 35 minute mark, and then the final goal of the match in the 80th minute.

Afghanistan's coach, Mohammad Yusuf Kargar was very happy with the results. "It was a good game for us. We respect our opponent, but I think, we are physically and tactically more sound than them", said Kargar. He also praised the hero of the game, Mohammad Sediq Walizada. "He was part of Under-19 team and now has matured as a player in a very short span of time. I am happy for him today."

Bhutan will now have an uphill task as they take on Afghanistan on March 25th for the return leg match. The winner will join North Korea, Nepal and Sri Lanka in Group D of the AFC Challenge Cup qualifying round, which is scheduled to be held from April 7-11 in Kathmandu, Nepal. Overall, there are four qualifying groups of the AFC Challenge Cup 2012: A, B, C and D. Group A consists of Myanmar, Bangladesh, Palestine and Philippines. Group B consists of India, Pakistan, Chinese Taipei and Turkmenistan. Group C consists of Maldives, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Cambodia.

Because of the security situation in Afghanistan, the AIFF (All India Football Federation) announced that the matches between Bhutan and Afghanistan will be held at the Tau Devi Lal Stadium in Gurgaon, India.

The AFC Challenge Cup is an international football competition for emerging nations (countries that need time to develop their football). All participants are members of the Asian Football Confederation.
 

March 19, 2011: Another first round victory for Afghan MMA fighter

Bahadurzada (left), and Alessio (right)

Afghan Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter and Shooto Light Heavyweight World Champion, Siyar Bahadurzada, defeated John "The Natural" Alessio by way of a knock out (KO) punch in the first round tonight in Belgium.

It took Bahardurzada only 90 seconds to finish off Alessio in the semi-final match at the United Glory 2010-2011 MMA and Kickboxing World Series.

Bahadurzada will now move on to the final round with a chance to win $150,000.

Hopefully this win will make up for the disappointment he felt when his contract with Strikeforce didn't happen earlier this year.

With this win, Bahadurzada improves his record to 19 wins, 4 losses and 1 draw. With his loss, Alessio drops to 31 wins and 14 losses.

March 19, 2011: Afghan cyclist wins 9th stage of 16th Tour de Pakistan cycle race

Pakistani media reported that Afghanistan's own Hashmatullah Barakzai has won the 9th stage of the 16th Tour-de-Pakistan cycle race from Lahore to Gujrat on Friday.

Hashmatullah "covered the distance of 115 kilometres in 3 hours, 11 minutes and 36 seconds", said a Daily Times report. The report added that "46 cyclists took part in the ninth stage of the annual event. Mohammad Sabir of Pakistan WAPDA was second with timing of 3 hours, 11 minutes and 46 seconds followed by Rameen Roofi of Afghanistan with timing of 3 hours, 11 minutes and 56 seconds".

 The Tour de Pakistan is an 11 stage bicycle race that is held in Pakistan in which the riders cover 1,655 kilometres (1,028 miles). The event is modeled after the well known Tour de France. It is the longest cycling race in Asia. The race begins in the Pakistani city of Peshawar and ends in Karachi.

Last year, Afghan cyclist Hashmatullah Barakzai came in third place and received US$ 1,000, and Afghan cyclist Imtiaz Hasan came in fourth place and received $750.

Tomorrow is a rest day, and then on Sunday, the cyclists will go from Gjurat to Rawalpindi to finish stage 10.
 

March 19, 2011: New gymnasium to be built in Jowzan; Afghan female handball team off to Tajikistan

Afghanistan's Bakhtar News Agency reported today that a new gymnasium will be built in the northern province of Jowzan. The gymnasium is being built after the athletes in the province complained about the lack of proper facilities to train. The cost of the construction project will be $500,000, and the gymnasium will be built on 21 jiribs of land, according to the report. Once completed, there will be facilities for football (soccer), volleyball, basketball and running.

In other sports news, Pajhwok Afghan News (PAN) reported today that a female handball team consisting of 9 players, has left Afghanistan for Tajikistan to participate in friendly matches. An Olympic Committee spokesman told PAN that a " four-member official delegation accompanied the nine-member handball squad on their first-ever week-long foreign trip".
 

March 16, 2011: Afghan cricket players Hassan and Nabi included in MCC squad

The United Kingdom's Independent newspaper reported today that the MCC (Marylebone Cricket Club) will include two players from Afghanistan's national cricket team, fast bowler Hamid Hassan and all-rounder Mohammad Nabi, in their upcoming match against champions Nottinghamshire. The match is scheduled for March 27th.

It will be a four-day fixture, and it will be played as a day-night match in Abu Dhabi, said the report. The match is being held in the Middle East because the MCC wants to "increase the popularity of the first-class game around the world."

This isn't the first time the two will be playing for MCC. In June 27, 2010, Hassan and Nabi were part of the MCC squad that took on the Pakistanis in a Twenty20 match at Lord's Cricket Ground in London, England.

Afghanistan went from Division 5 of the ICC League to earning one-day international status, thanks to players like Hassan and Nabi. Their inclusion into the MCC squad shows that Afghan fans are not the only ones impressed with their performances.
 

March 7, 2011: Afghan fighters to compete in 2011 World Taekwondo Championships

Yesterday, a four member Afghan Taekwondo team left Afghanistan to go Wellington, New Zealand in order complete in the upcoming ITF (International Taekwondo Federation) 2011 World Taekwondo Championships. The tournament is scheduled to be held from March 9th to March 13th in the purpose-built sports stadium TSB Bank Arena, in the downtown waterfront area of Wellington. The Afghan fighters are Ahmad Ibrahimi (70kg), Zabihullah (63kg), Basir Ahmad Habibi (58kg), and Saifullah (48kg).
 

March 7, 2011: Women's Basketball tournament being held in Kabul

In honor of International Women's Day on March 8th, a women's basketball tournament started today in which four teams from Kabul City are participating, according to a report from Pajhwok Afghan News (PAN). The teams are Shaheen, Kabul Municipality, Sanger and Afghanistan International School. In the first game, Shaheen beat Kabul Municipality 54-25. The PAN report said that "a final round will be held on Tuesday". Funding for the event is coming from the National Olympic Committee, Youth Radio, and Etisalat Mobile Communication Company.
 

March 3, 2011: Basketball tournament began in Kabul

Pajhwok Afghan News (PAN) reported today that a 4-day basketball tournament started today in Kabul. Eight teams from 5 different provinces are competing in the event, which is being held in the Olympic Committee Gymnasium. The teams are from Kabul, Kandahar, Nangarhar, Logar and Herat. The event is being organized by Afghanistan's Basketball Federation, and the purpose is to promote the sport in Afghanistan. Compared to football (soccer) and cricket, basketball is not as popular in Afghanistan.
 

February 26, 2011: Afghan MMA fighter to fight again on March 19th

Bahadurzada (left), and Alessio (right)

Afghan Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter and Shooto Light Heavyweight World Champion, Siyar Bahadurzada, will fight on March 19th in Belgium against John "The Natural" Alessio. Bahadurzada and Alessio were originally scheduled to fight on January 30th in a semi-final match at the United Glory 2010-2011 MMA and Kickboxing World Series. Unfortunately, Alessio has to pull out of the fight due to a back injury.  Alessio is no longer injured, and so the fight is back on.

Bahadurzada has a record of 18 wins, 4 losses and 1 draw, and in his most recent fight, he defeated Derrick Noble in the first round via TKO on October 16th. Alessio has a record of 31 wins, and 13 losses. He has won his last 6 matches. In his most recent match, he defeated Sergey Golyaev in the second round via a Submission (Kimura).

The winner of this semi-final match will go on to the to the $150,000 final round.

Bahadurzada also recently visited Afghanistan, and during this stay, he was interviewed by local Afghan television.  He was treated as a hero, and he posted his some of his thoughts about his visit on his Twitter account. Here are a few of the posts:

My visit to Afghanistan has destroyed me & then rebuild me; stronger, harder, more determined, motivated and dedicated! I see "lions" there!  - 8:42 AM Feb 14th

Fighting for these kids in Afghanistan, is by far the best thing I've ever done in my 26 years of age! These kids are like lions! 
- 9:39 PM Feb 9th

The streets of Kabul has really inspired me! When little kids recognize me here and run to me and hug me, I know I've done something good! 
- 9:24 PM Feb 9th

February 26, 2011: New bodybuilding club for Afghan Army

Pajhwok Afghan News (PAN) reported today that "a bodybuilding club for Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers was inaugurated in central Uruzgan province". The report said that the equipment for the bodybuilding club was donated by NATO troops stationed in the province. Now, Afghanistan's soldiers have another way to stay fit.
 

February 23, 2011: Afghanistan to face off against Bhutan in football

Afghanistan and Bhutan will face off on March 23rd and 24th in the Asian Football Confederation's (AFC) Challenge Cup pre-qualifying football (soccer) match. The AFC Challenge Cup is an international football competition for emerging nations (countries that need time to develop their football). All participants are members of the Asian Football Confederation.

The winner of the Bhutan and Afghanistan match will join North Korea, Nepal and Sri Lanka in Group D of the AFC Challenge Cup qualifying round, which is scheduled to be held from April 7-11 in Kathmandu, Nepal. Overall, there are four qualifying groups of the AFC Challenge Cup 2012: A, B, C and D. Group A consists of Myanmar, Bangladesh, Palestine and the winner of Mongolia and Philippines match. Group B consists of India, Pakistan, Chinese Taipei and Turkmenistan. Group C consists of Maldives, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Cambodia.

Because of the security situation in Afghanistan, the AIFF (All India Football Federation) announced that the matches between Bhutan and Afghanistan will be held at the Tau Devi Lal Stadium in Gurgaon, India. "It is not possible to host Afghanistan's home match in their country. So We are going to host it," AIFF general secretary Kushal Das said. "Since Afghanistan are playing their home match in India it would be unfair for them to play in Bhutan for their away match. So the return-leg match will also be held at Gurgaon," he said.

Both matches will kick off at 1500 hrs IST.
 

February 18, 2011: Rugby training camp to be held in Kabul


Afghanistan Rugby Federation Logo

Afghanistan's Rugby Federation (ARF) will hold a training camp from May 1st to May 10th in Kabul. ARF Vice President Abdul Khalil Bik told Afghanistan Online this week that the goal of the camp is to select "a National Rugby Team and National Joiner Teams". Bik said that they are inviting Zafar Khan, a professional rugby player from India, who is originally from Afghanistan, to help the local players. The federation is getting funding from Majid Mall, the first Modern Mall in Kabul, to cover the expenses of the coach from India, and they are expecting some assistance from the British Embassy in Kabul as well. The sport of rugby was invented in the 19th century in Britain.
 

February 18, 2011: Afghanistan to participate in 23rd Fajr Cup Open International Taekwondo Championships

Today, Afghanistan sent off a 23 member delegation, including 7 female athletes to the upcoming 23rd Fajr Cup Open International Taekwondo Championships. The event which is being held in Orumieh, Iran, is scheduled to run until February 25th. The Martial Arts, such as Taekwondo is very popular in Afghanistan, and despite adequate funding, Afghan athletes have done very well in international competitions.
 

February 16, 2011: Football tournament started today in Uruzgan province

Pajhwok Afghan News reported that a football (soccer) tournament started today in Afghanistan's province of Uruzgan. According to the report, 16 teams from nearby villages will compete and the tournament will run for 28 days. Certificates and awards will be given out at the end of the tournament. Unfortunately, the tournament lacks trainers as well as a decent playground, however, that will not stop the Afghan footballers from playing the game. "We neither have trainers nor playground. At least the games would be a chance for us to practice," a player named Ghyasul Haq told PAN. Football is still considered to be one of the most popular sports in Afghanistan.
 

February 10, 2011: Afghanistan defeats Nepal by 61 runs to win the ACC  U-19 Elite Cup


Website of ACC shows trophy being handed to Afghanistan

Afghanistan took on Nepal today in the final match of the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) U-19 Elite Cup at Terdthai Cricket Ground, Bangkok. Afghanistan won the coin toss and elected to bat first.

Nepal was the only country that had beaten Afghanistan in this competition, however, today the Afghans who ended up with 200/9 (50 overs) made up for that loss by defeating Nepal who ended up with 139 all out (43.1 overs) by 61 runs.  The Afghan batsman really came through in this game. Nepal's team played very well, but their batting line up collapsed after reaching 139 runs in 42nd over. Nine of their batsmen were even unable to reach a double digit.

Both Nepal and Afghanistan will now go to the World Cup qualifier in Ireland, which is scheduled for July.

The Afghan team includes Najibullah Zadran, Aftab Alam, Noorul Haq, Afsar Khan Zazai, Mohammad Yamin, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Mohibullah, Younus Khan Ahmadzai, Rahmatullah Sahaq, Abdul Rashid, Dawood Bahram, Amanullah Amin and Nasir Jamal. The team is led by Sher Mohammad Sherzai.
 

February 8, 2011: Afghan U-19 cricket team wins semi-final match against Hong Kong; National cricket team defeats Canada.

Afghanistan took on Hong Kong today in the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) U-19 Elite Cup semi-final match at Terdthai Cricket Ground, Bangkok. Hong Kong won the coin toss and elected to bat first. Afghanistan (134 for 3 off 31.1 overs) defeated Hong Kong (133 all out off 43.3 overs) by seven wickets. Hong Kong did well in the field but their batters could not match up against the Afghan bowlers. In fact, Afghanistan's Abdul Rashid was given the Man of the Match award for his outstanding bowling.

In the other semi-final match today, Nepal beat Qatar by six wickets. So now, it will be Afghanistan versus Nepal in the final match, which is scheduled for this Thursday at Terdthai Cricket Ground. Afghanistan's only loss in this competition was against Nepal, so it would be sweet revenge if they were able to beat them in the finals. The two finalists will go to the World Cup qualifier in Ireland, which is scheduled for July.

Hong Kong's team: Miten Khatri, Nizakat Khan, Sagar Chandra, Vikash Gope, Kinchit Shah, Jason Lui, Aizaz Khan, Niaz Ali, Sunny Bhimsaria, Max Tucker, Simandeep Singh (12th Man: Suhaib Ahmed)

Afghanistan's team: Shir Shirzai, Najibullah Zadran, Aftab Alam, Rahmatullah Sahaq, Younas Khan, Mohibullah Paak, Noor-ul-Haq, Hashmatullah Shaidi, Afsar Khan Zazai, Abdul Rashid, Mohammad Yamin (12th Man Dawood Bahram)

In other cricket news, Afghanistan's national cricket team defeated Canada by 5 wickets when they played at the International Cricket Council (ICC) Global Cricket Academy today.
 

February 7, 2011: Afghanistan loses warm-up match against Kenya

Afghanistan's national cricket team played a World Cup warm-up match against Kenya yesterday at the ICC Global Cricket Academy Ground in Dubai. Unfortunately, the Afghan team lost by 49 runs. Steve Tikolo, Kenya's most experience player, scored 126 not out off 126 balls and the Kenyan team posted 289. This total was too much for Afghanistan - they were only able to score 240. Nawroz Mangal (42 off 64 balls) and Mohammad Nabi (46 off 35) were the two main contributors. The Afghan team had a good start, but they were derailed by the loss of three wickets within the first ten overs.
 

February 6, 2011: Afghanistan defeats UAE - proceed to semi-finals of ACC U-19 Elite Cup


Afghan U-19 Cricket Team

Afghanistan played against the United Arab Emirates (UAE) today in their fourth game of the 2011 Asian Cricket Council (ACC) U-19 Elite Cup competition. The game was played at the Asian Institute of Technology cricket ground. Afghanistan won the toss and chose to field. Afghanistan won the match by 6 wickets and Shir Shirzai of Afghanistan was given the Man of the Match Award.

After losing to Nepal two days ago, Afghanistan really needed this win in order to make it to the semi-finals. The semi-final match will be played against Qatar on Tuesday.

Summary

  • UAE: 106 all out off 30.4 overs (S.Shirzai 4-43, A.Rashid 3-15)
  • Afghanistan: 109 for 4 off 29.1 overs (R.Sahaq 30*)

Here's the points table so far


 

February 4, 2011: Nepal ends Afghanistan's winning streak

Afghanistan played against Nepal today in their third game of the 2011 Asian Cricket Council (ACC) U-19 Elite Cup competition. The game was played at the Asian Institute of Technology cricket ground. Nepal won the toss and chose to bat first. Nepal won the match by 6 wickets and Avinash Karn of Nepal was given the Man of the Match Award.

Through out the match, Nepal's team was very disciplined and stuck to their game plan. Many credit this discipline for the win. As for the Afghan team's performance, Afghanistan's bowling coach Hasti Gul said: "The boys just didn't bat responsibly, sometimes you must know the difficult conditions and play to the wicket, this was not good from us but we are still a very strong team and I am confident we will get to the Final still".

On Sunday, February 6th, Afghanistan will take on the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Summary

  • Afghanistan: 125 all out off 42.3 overs (M.Paak 30; A.Karn 3-24)
  • Nepal: 127 for 4 off 26.4 overs (N.Budhayer 42*)

February 3, 2011: Another victory for Afghanistan in ACC U-19 Elite Cup


Aftab Alam

Afghanistan played against Oman today in their second game of the 2011 Asian Cricket Council (ACC) U-19 Elite Cup competition. The game was played at Terdthai Cricket Ground, in Bangkok. Oman won the toss and chose to bat first, however, Afghanistan won the match by 9 wickets and Aftab Alam was given the Man of the Match Award,

On Friday, February 4th, Afghanistan will take on Nepal.

Summary

  • Oman: 59 all out off 36.5 overs (A. Alam 8-12)
  • Afghanistan: 60 for 1 off 12.3 overs (H.Sahidi 35*)

February 1, 2011: Afghanistan wins first game in ACC U-19 Elite Cup


Afsar Zazai

Afghanistan played against Thailand today in their first game of the 2011 Asian Cricket Council (ACC) U-19 Elite Cup competition. The game was played at Terdthai Cricket Ground, in Bangkok. Afghanistan won the toss and chose to bat first. Afghanistan won the match by 249 runs and Afsar Khan Zazai was given the Man of the Match Award for being the U-19 Elite Cup's first centurion.

On Thursday, February 3rd, Afghanistan will take on Oman.

Summary

  • Afghanistan: 326 for 8 off 50 overs (A.K. Zazai 135, Y. Ahmadzai 44, S. Shirzai 33, A. Alam 58)
  • Thailand: 77 all out off 30.5 overs (A. Alam 3-18)

January 30, 2011: Afghan cricket team to compete in ACC U-19 Elite Cup 2011

Afghanistan will send a cricket team to compete in the upcoming Asian Cricket Council (ACC) Under 19 Elite Cup 2011.  The tournament is scheduled to begin in February 1st and end on February 10th.  The ACC U-19 Elite Cup tournament forms part of the qualifying process for ICC U-19 World Cup 2012. The top two teams will move forward to a global qualifier scheduled to be held later in the year.

The teams participating in the event are separated into 2 groups: Group A and Group B.

Group A consists of: Hong Kong, Qatar, Malaysia, Singapore and Bahrain.

Group B consists of: Afghanistan, Nepal, United Arab Emirates, Oman and Thailand.

Afghanistan's matches will be held in the Thailand Cricket Ground, Bangkok. They are scheduled to go up against Thailand on February 1st, Oman on February 3rd, Nepal on February 4th, and UAE on February 6th. The semi-final matches will begin on February 8th, and the final is scheduled on February 10th.
 

January 27, 2011: Big disappointment for Afghan MMA fighter


Siyar Bahadurzada after knocking out
Derrick Noble in the first round on October 16, 2010

Fans of Afghan Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter and Shooto Light Heavyweight World Champion, Siyar Bahadurzada, were excited to hear that he had been signed by a major Mixed Martial Arts organization (Strikeforce) in April 2010. Unfortunately, it turns that this is not the case. Bahadurzada announced on his Twitter and Facebook account that Strikeforce had actually never signed the contract that he as well as his Golden Glory management had been promised.

This is a major disappointment for both Bahadurzada and his growing number of fans worldwide. Apparently, Bahadurzada even turned down an offer from Bellator Fighting Championships, another major MMA organization, because he thought he had a deal with Strikeforce.

Bahadurzada told MMAValor.com that the reason Strikeforce gave for not signing the contract was because of the money. Fans and MMA media were also shocked at the fact that Golden Glory management had not been aware that the contract was not actually signed by Strikeforce. MMAValor.com wrote today that "Strikeforce appears to have been quite unresponsive and maybe even deceiving to the fighter and his management."

Bahadurzada, quite understandably, is very upset and may be making some rash statements. He even said the he is willing to fight the winner of this Saturday's Strikeforce welterweight championship match between Nick Diaz and Evangelista Santos for free! He said, "I will fight the winner for free in Strikeforce and if I lose I will retire from MMA. I want you to understand I love MMA, it is the only thing I have in my life that I love so understand how serious I am when I make this challenge to a bunch of clowns... If Strikeforce accepts, I guarantee you I will knock out their champion."

His fans are however urging him not to put everything on the line for a single fight, and his fans are still hopeful that Bahadurzada will get to fight for a major MMA organization, perhaps even Dana White's Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).
 

January 27, 2011: Afghan cricket teams in UAE

Afghanistan's junior level "A" team is currently in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and soon they will be joined by the national cricket team. The A team is coached by Taj Malik, and Rashid Latif is the coach of the senior team (national team). While the A team has been playing some friendly matches against the local teams, the national team is preparing to take on the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) Blues, Kenya and Canada.

Below is the schedule for the national cricket team:

January 31, February 2: Sharjah Cricket Stadium (1) 4pm: Afghanistan vs ECB Blues

February 5: Al Dhaid Village 2pm: Afghanistan vs ECB Blues

February 6: ICC Global Cricket Academy: Afghanistan vs Kenya

February 8: ICC Global Cricket Academy: Afghanistan vs Canada

(1) Due to lack of proper grounds and security issues in Afghanistan, the Sharjah Cricket Stadium in UAE serves as the "home" ground for the Afghan national cricket team.
 

January 23, 2011: Raees Ahmadzai: "I am safe and sound."


Raees Ahmadzai

Local Afghan media reports had been circulating that Raees Ahmadzai, former member of Afghanistan's national cricket team, and currently a Technical Manager under the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB), had been kidnapped by unidentified gunmen. He told Afghanistan's Pajhwok Afghan News today by phone that, "I am safe and sound."  Apparently, he had traveled to Pakistan for the treatment of his ailing mother.

After retiring from the national team, Ahmadzai has been very active in promoting cricket amongst Afghan youth, including girls.
 

January 20, 2011: Karate competition begins in Kabul

A karate competition, scheduled to last 6 months, began in Kabul today. According to a report today from Pajhwok Afghan News, 120 athletes will participate in the event. The goal is to select the best athletes for an upcoming competition in Iran. "At the end of the competitions, three teams of children, youths and adults will be selected", Karate Federation Director, Ghulam Jailani Ghorob told PAN. The competitions will take place every Thursday between two teams. Each team has 12 members, according to report.
 

January 16, 2011: Sports equipment donated to prisoners at Pul-i-Charkhi prison

Pajhwok Afghan News (PAN) reported today that a delegation from Afghanistan's National Olympic Committee, led by the Committee Director, Muhammad Zahir Aghbar, visited inmates at the  Pul-i-Charkhi jail today in Kabul, and distributed tracksuits, shoes, volleyballs, basketballs and other equipment to the prisoners. Director Aghbar also promised the prisoners that they will soon provide them with wrestling mats, weightlifting and taekwondo gear, as well as volleyball equipment.

See video below from PAN showing a volleyball match at the prison.



January 11, 2011: Hamid Hassan to be captain; Hamid Shinwari resigns; Women's cricket news

Hamid Hassan, the fast bowler of the national cricket team, has been named the new limited overs captain. He will replace Mohammad Nabi, who the Afghanistan Cricket Board apparently sees as not being able to "deliver well". Hassan was also recently chosen by the ACB as the player of the year.

Also, Hamid Shinwari (Chief Executive Officer of the ACB) has resigned from his position so he can continue his education in Australia. He had held the position for eight months.

In women's cricket news, an Afghan national team is currently being put together to represent Afghanistan in the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) Women's Twenty20 championship, which is scheduled to be held in Kuwait from February 17th to the 25th. Besides Afghanistan, Kuwait, China, Chinese Hong Kong, Iran, Malaysia, Nepal, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates will be participating in the event.

January 8, 2011: New opponent needed for champion Afghan MMA fighter

Bahadurzada (left), and Alessio (right)

John "The Natural" Alessio was scheduled to fight Siyar Bahadurzada, Afghan Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter and Shooto Light Heavyweight World Champion on January 30th at the United Glory 2010-2011 MMA and Kickboxing World Series.  He has pulled out of the semi-final match due to a back injury.

Alessio posted the following on this Twitter account: "@SiyarTheGreat I have unfortunately injured my Back, I really wanted to try and win this tourney, fight with you and I could have been big!"

A new opponent for Bahadurzada has not been announced. Bahadurzada, who has a record of 18 wins, 4 losses and 1 draw, defeated Derrick Noble in the first round via TKO on October 16th.
Alessio has a record of 30 wins, and 13 losses. He has won his last 6 matches. In his most recent match, he defeated Sergey Golyaev in the second round via a Submission (Kimura).

The winner of this semi-final match will go on to the to the $150,000 final round.

January 8, 2011: Friendly Kyokushin-kan tournament recently held in Afghanistan

A friendly Kyokushin-kan tournament between Paktia, Khost, Laghman, and Nangarhar Provinces was held in Jalalabad City on December 31, 2010. Kyokushin-kan is a type of full contact Karate. According to the official site of the Kyokushin-kan Afghanistan organization, 75 fighters participated in the event. "This tournament was held under the supervision of Sensei Qahar Azadani, Afghanistan Branch Chief and Vice President of Afghanistan Kyokushin-kan Karate-do Organization."

See photos from the event:

    Upcoming tournaments and events

  • All Afghanistan Open Karate Tournament (Open Weight Championships - Selection of Afghanistan Team for All Kyokushin-kan Indonesian International Tournament), July 15, 2011 - Herat City
  • All Afghanistan Instructors' Training Seminar, August 26, 2011 - Central Dojo

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