Afghan Sports History
A Chronological History of Sports in Afghanistan|
by Abdullah Qazi
(Last updated January 26, 2016)
900 - 1400 AD
- Around this time, Buzkashi, the national sport of present-day Afghanistan was introduced and spread throughout the region.
- For the first time ever, cricket is played on Afghan soil by British troops,
however, the sport was not picked up by Afghans at the time. It's
not until the mid 1990s when Afghan refugees living in Pakistan picked up the
sport and then imported it to Afghanistan.
- During the reign of Amir Habibullah, western-type sports such as tennis and golf were introduced.
- Afghanistan National Football Team was formed.
- Ghazi Stadium in Kabul was built during the reign of King Amanullah Khan.
The stadium is used today for football matches and can hold about 25,000 people.
- Afghanistan Football Federation (AFF), the governing body of football
(soccer) in Afghanistan was established. AFF controls the Afghanistan National
- Afghanistan competed (for the first time) at the Summer Olympic Games held
in Berlin, Germany. No medals were won.
- January 1: The first international football (soccer) match was played in
Ghazi Stadium in Kabul. The Afghan team played against the Iranian team.
The game ended in a draw with neither team scoring a goal.
- Afghanistan Football Federation joined FIFA (International Federation of
- Afghanistan competed at the Summer Olympics in London. No medals were won.
- Afghanistan Football Federation joined the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).
- Afghanistan competed at the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne, after
having missed the 1952 Games in Helsinki. No medals were won.
- Afghanistan competed at the Summer Olympics in Rome. No medals were won.
- Afghanistan competed at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. No medals
were won, however Afghan wrestler Mohammed Ebrahimi finished 5th in wrestling.
- Afghan National Bodybuilding Federation created.
- Afghanistan competed at the Summer Olympics in Mexico City, Mexico. No
medals were won.
- Afghanistan competed at the Summer Olympics in Munich, Germany. No medals
- The Kabul Golf Club was closed down.
- Afghanistan competed in the Summer Olympics in Moscow (Soviet Union). No
medals were won. Many nations including the United States boycotted the 1980
Summer Olympics in Moscow because of the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
- Afghanistan Handball Federation established.
- Afghanistan (under Communist rule) boycotted the Summer Olympics in Los
- Afghanistan National Gymnastic Federation was created.
- Afghan Women's Cycling Team was formed.
- Afghanistan competed at the Summer Olympics in Seoul. No medals were won.
- A Buzkashi game was featured in a scene in the American movie, Rambo III,
starring Sylvester Stallone.
- The Kabul Golf Club was reopened.
- A plane carrying Afghanistan's national bodybuilding team crashed in Mazar-e-Sharif,
killing all 12 team members.
- The Afghanistan Cricket Federation was formed in Pakistan. Today it is
known as the Afghanistan Cricket Board, and it is the official governing body
of the sport of cricket in Afghanistan.
- Afghanistan competed at the Summer Olympics in Atlanta. No medals were
- Afghanistan sends one athlete to the Paralympics in Atlanta, Georgia.
- In September 2006, the Taliban capture Kabul and a major restrictions were
placed. Women were no longer allowed to participate in sports, and the Kabul
Golf Club was closed down. Taliban also banned Buzkashi, the national sport of
- Kabul's Ghazi Stadium is used to hold public executions by the Taliban.
- Afghan Sports Federation (ASF) was established. ASF is a non-profit
organization based in Fairfax, Virginia of Metropolitan Washington D.C. area.
Their goal is to promote "amateur sports among the Afghan youths and Adults
both men and women at every level of excellence in the region, the United
States and the world."
- Afghanistan was banned from Olympic competition because of the Taliban.
Afghanistan was also banned from the Paralympics as well.
- Cricket was one of the few sports allowed by the Taliban in Afghanistan.
- Afghanistan's national cricket team was formed.
- Afghan cricket team became a member of the International Cricket Council
- Afghanistan was reinstated and allowed to once again compete in Olympic
- Afghan cricket team became a member of the Asian Cricket Council (ACC).
- The Afghanistan Paralympics Federation (AFP) was founded on February 14th.
AFP is a sovereign body that represents all the various categories of
disabled athletes from around Afghanistan.
- Afghanistan returned to the Olympic Games at the Summer Olympics in
Athens. Female athletes Friba Razayee and Robina Muqim Yaar represented
Afghanistan for the first time in the country's history. No medals were won.
- In mid September, two athletes from Afghanistan, one of them a woman named
Mareena Karim (first time in history), traveled to Athens to compete in the
- The Kabul Golf Club reopened - nine-hole golf course located near Kargha.
- Afghanistan's Handball Federation became a member of the Asian and International
- Afghan cricket team were finalist in the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) U-15
- Afghanistan joined the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF).
- December 1 to 15: Afghanistan participated in the Asian Games held in
- Afghan cricket team were finalists in the Middle East Cup.
- January 28 - February 4: Afghanistan participated in the Asian Winter
Games which was held in Changchun, China.
- July 15: Afghan Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter Siyar Bahadurzada defeated
Japan's Shikou Yamashita to win the Shooto light heavyweight championship.
- August 1: The National Basketball Association of Afghanistan was
- November 2: Afghanistan and Oman shared the Asian Cricket Council (ACC)
- November 7: For the first time, a female boxing federation was established
by Afghanistan's National Olympic Committee.
- November 11: For the first time, an Afghan Wushu team competed in the
International Wushu Tournament in Beijing.
- December 29: Bodybuilding club for women was inaugurated in Parwan
- Afghan cricket team were finalists in the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) U-19
- Afghanistan women's national football team was formed.
- Afghanistan's first-ever Kabul-Jalalabad cycle race (also known as the
Ghazi Amanullah Khan Cycle Race) began on August 15th.
- In late August, the first female weightlifting competition was held in
- Afghanistan competed at the Summer Olympics in Beijing, China.
Nikpai made history by winning Afghanistan's first Olympic medal. He defeated
world champion Juan Antonio Ramos of Spain to take the bronze in the men's
under 58-kilogram Taekwondo competition on August 20th.
- A five member Afghan Paralympics delegation participated in the Beijing
Paralympics held from September 6 to September 15.
- Afghan cricket team won the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) U-17 Challenge
Cup, won the Pepsi International Cricket Council World Cricket League Division
4, came in third in the Asian Cricket Council Trophy Elite, and won the
International Cricket Council World Cricket League Division 5.
- April 17: Afghan cricket team achieved ODI (One-Day International) status.
In the Super Eight of the 2011 World Cup Qualifiers, Afghanistan finished
- October 29: Construction completed on the first-ever all-inclusive
skatepark and educational facility (Skateistan Skatepark) in Kabul.
- January 26: Afghanistan Sports Committee for the Deaf formed.
- January 29 - February 9th: Afghanistan participated in the 11th South
Asian Games in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Overall, they won
medals - 7 gold, 9 silver, and 16 bronze.
- February 13: Afghanistan's cricket team defeated the team from the United
Arab Emirates - securing themselves a place in the World Twenty20 finals. This
was the first time an Afghan team made it to the finals of a major ICC
(International Cricket Council) tournament.
- April 9: Afghanistan defeated Nepal to win for the first time,
the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) Trophy Elite competition.
- October 10: Museum of National Olympics Committee was inaugurated in Kabul
by Minister of Information and Culture, Sayed Makhdoum Rahin.
- November 17: Afghan golf team (Ali Ahmad Fazel and Hashmatulah Sarwari) made
Asian Games debut in Guangzhou, China.
- November 26: Afghan cricket team won a silver medal in the 16th Asian Games
in Guangzhou, China.
- November 29: Afghanistan Rugby Federation officially registered with
Afghanistan's National Olympic Committee.
- December 4: Afghanistan defeated Scotland by 7 wickets to win the
International Cricket Council (ICC) Intercontinental Cup trophy.
- Afghanistan national women's cricket team was formed.
- January 15: Afghanistan joined Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and
Pakistan to create the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC)
Baseball Federation (BBF). President of the Afghanistan Baseball
Federation: Hamid Ullah
- April 24: Afghan women boxers, Sadaf Rahimi and Shogofa Haidarzada,
competed in the inaugural AIBA (International Boxing Association) World Youth
and Junior Championships in Antalya, Turkey.
- May 20: Afghanistan Rugby Federation launched.
- June: Afghan bodybuilding team won the 8th South Asian Bodybuilding
- April 30: Mohammad Seyar Azadani, representing Afghanistan, won the Kata
competition in the 3rd USA Kyokushin-kan Karate Open Championships.
- December 11: Afghanistan defeated Hong Kong to win the ACC (Asian Cricket
Council) Twenty20 Cup.
- December 11: Afghanistan finished in second place at the South Asian
Football Federation (SAFF) Cup.
- January 24: Afghanistan held its first-ever snow rugby game
- February 16: Afghanistan's national women's football team won first official international match by defeating Qatar 2-0.
- February 24: Afghan boxer Hamid Rahimi defeated Ruslan Rodivich to become the
interim World Boxing Union (WBU) middle weight champion.
- March 10: Afghanistan defeated Qatar to win 2012 ACC (Asian Cricket Council) Under-16 Challenge Cup
- April 15: Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter Siyar Bahadurzada became the first Afghan to win a match in the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship), the largest MMA organization in the world. Bahadurzada knocked out his opponent Paulo Thiago in just 42 seconds of the first round
- June 19: Afghanistan's basketball team won the gold medal after defeating Turkmenistan in the final of a beach basketball competition in the 3rd Asian Beach Games, held in Haiyang, northeast China's Shandong province.
- August 9: Afghanistan's Rohullah Nikpai made history again by winning a bronze medal in Taekwondo in the 2012 London Summer Olympic Games.
- September 18: Afghan Premier League, Afghanistan's first national football (soccer) league, officially kicked off. First match: De Maiwand Atalan, representing South West Afghanistan went up against Shahin Asmayee from Greater Kabul.
- December 12: Afghan Women's RFC (Rugby Football Club), operating under Afghanistan Rugby Federation, was established.
- Afghanistan became a member of the Federation of International Bandy.
- April 3: Afghanistan defeated host country Nepal in the final match of the 2013 ACC (Asian Cricket Council) Twenty20 Cup by 7 wickets to win the tournament for the fourth time.
- May 11: Afghanistan's Under 19 cricket team defeated the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the final by 10 wickets to win the ACC (Asian Cricket Council) Elite 2013 cricket tournament in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
- September 11: Afghanistan defeated India 2-0 to win the SAFF (South Asian Football
Federation) Championship for the first time in history. Shortly after FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) increased Afghanistan's overall ranking to 132nd, 7 places higher.
- March 23: Major traditional Buzkashi game held in central Bamiyan province.
- February 25: Afghanistann announced that it was leaving the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) to be a founding member of the Central Asian Football Federation (CAFF).
- October 16: Both men and women competed in Afghanistan's first international marathon in central Bamiyan Province.
- December 6: Afghan pankration fighters won three gold medals in the 6th International Martial Arts Games
- December 10: Great Noida Cricket Stadium in India was announced as Afghanistan's home ground.
- December 27: The ICC (International Cricket Council) announced that Afghanistan had moved up two places to become number 10 in the world rankings.
- January 1: First ever rugby session (training) was held by Afghan women at the British embassy in Kabul
- January 3: Afghanistan finished 2nd in the 2015 SAFF (South Asian Football Federation) Suzuki Championship. This was their last match as part of SAFF.