Afghan Sports News 2014

Unless otherwise noted, reports filed by Abdullah Qazi

December 8, 2014: Afghan squad for cricket World Cup announced; Afghanistan comes in 3rd in handball; Water polo training session announced

The Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) has announced the 30-member preliminary squad for the 2015 ICC (International Cricket Council) World Cup. The event is scheduled to be held from February 14, 2015 to March 29, 2015, and it will be jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand. There will be a total of 49 matches with 14 participants. Afghanistan has qualified as a result of their success in the World Cricket League Championship.

The Afghan squad will consist of: Mohammad Nabi Esakhil, Nawroz Mangal, Usman Ghani, Javid Ahmadi, Afsar Zazai, Asghar Stanikzai, Samiullah Shinwari, Shafiqullah Shafaq, Mirwais Ashraf, Gulbadin Naib, Hamid Hassan, Shapoor Zadran, DAwlat Zadran, Izatullah, Aftab Alam, Farid Malik, Najeeb Zadran, Nasir Jamal, Sharafuddin Ashraf, Mohammad Shahzad Mohammadi, Karim Sadiq, Shabir Noori, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Yamin Ahmadzai, Hamza Hotak, Najibullah Tarakai, Fazal Niazi, Mohammad Mujtaba, Noor Ali Zadran and Rahmat Shah.

After warm-up matches against India on February 10th, and UAE (United Arab Emirates) on February 13th, Afghanistan will compete in their first match on February 18th against Bangladesh in Canberra, Australia. Then they will take on Sri Lanka on February 22nd, followed by Scotland on February 26th, Australia on March 4th, New Zealand on March 8th, and finally England on March 13th.

Meanwhile, in the world of handball, the Men’s International Handball Federation (IHF) Challenge Trophy came to a conclusion with Pakistan defeating Yemen by a margin of 39-22 goals. Afghanistan came in third after defeating Bangladesh by 38-30. Afghanistan had earlier lost to Pakistan in the second semifinal match 43-28. Besides Afghanistan, and host country Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Maldives, and Yemen participated in the event.

Finally, in other sports news, the Executive Director & Head Coach of Afghanistan’s water polo team recently announced that 2 coaches and a team manager will travel to Kabul in order to conduct a 1-month long training session for the national team. The training is scheduled to start in mid-January 2015 and end mid-February 2015. Exact dates were not announced at this time.

November 13, 2014: Bangladesh defeats Afghanistan in SAFF Women’s Championship

Afghanistan lost today to Bangladesh 1-6 in the 3rd SAFF (South Asian Football Federation) Women’s Championship, currently being held in Pakistan. The event had started on Tuesday, November 11th and will end on Thursday, November 20th. The only goal for the Afghans came from Fatima Marjan in the 23rd minute of the game. Up next, Afghanistan will go up against Maldives on November 15th, followed by India on November 17th. India is the current reigning champion. Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are the 8 countries participating in the football (soccer) event.

October 28, 2014: Rugby team to participate in Asian Developing 7s Tournament; Afghanistan defeats Pakistan in U19 cricket

Afghanistan’s 7s rugby team will participate in the upcoming Asian Developing 7s Tournament, scheduled to take place from October 31 to November 1 in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Besides Afghanistan and host country UAE, Iran Jordan, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia will participate in the event. Afghanistan’s’ first match will be against Iran, followed by Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and then UAE.

In other news, Afghanistan’s U19 (under 19) team defeated Pakistan by 10 wickets today in their Under 19s tour of Pakistan. Afghanistan won the coin toss, but chose to field first. Pakistan scored 131 runs in 32.2 overs (all out). First, because of rain, the 50 over match was reduced to 22 overs, applying the Duckworth–Lewis D/L method. Afghanistan just needed 104 runs in 22 overs to win the match. They scored 104 in just 15.4 overs (0 wickets). Player of the match honors went to Hazratullah Zazai for scoring 66 runs. Today’s game was played in Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore. Games 2 (Oct 29th) and 3 (Oct 31st) will also be played there.

May 1, 2014: Afghanistan defeats Hong Kong by 6 wickets; 4 footballers join Da Spingar Bazan; NOC elects Fahim Hashimy as president

In their first game of the Asian Cricket Council Premier League competition, Afghanistan’s national cricket team got off to a great start by defeating Hong Kong by 6 wickets. Afghanistan won the coin toss and chose to field first. Hong Kong scored a whopping 216 runs in 49.3 overs However, easily reached the target and scored 218 runs in 43.1 overs, losing just 4 wickets. All of Afghanistan’s batsmen contributed with the highest coming from the player of the match, Usman Ghani who scored 70 runs. Afghanistan will next face off against the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on May 2nd, followed up by Malaysia on May 4th, Oman on May 5th, and Nepal on May 7th. The Asian Cricket Council Premier League is being held in Malaysia. Host country Malaysia, Afghanistan, Hong Kong, Nepal Oman and the UAE are participating in the tournament. Fifteen matches in the 50-overs format were scheduled.

In football (soccer) news, Tolo news reported yesterday that 4 Afghan football players will join Da Spingar Bazan, which represents eastern Afghanistan in the Roshan Afghan Premier League (RAPL). The players come from Herat, Farah, and Nuristan provinces. “It is not important that we belong to Farah, Herat, Nangarhar or Kabul, the important thing is we must be united wherever we live in Afghanistan; this will strengthen the Da Spinghar Bazan Team and will also promote national unity,” said Abdul Manan Farahi, one of the four players from Farah to Tolo news. “We must show that the Afghan people are one, whether they are Pashtoon, Uzbek, Tajik or Hazara,” Farahi added. The RAPL is Afghanistan’s first national professional football league and its third season will start this August.

Finally, the Associated Press (AP) reported today that Afghanistan’s National Olympic Committee (NOC) has democratically elected Fahim Hashimy as president. According to the AP report, Hashimy is a “savvy 33-year-old businessman with investments in television, aviation, mining and construction”. The AP report added that “one of Hashimy’s main goals is to increase the participation of women in sports. He knows it’ll take a continued cultural shift, and says it’ll only be achieved through trust”.

February 24, 2014: Afghanistan loses U19 World Cup quarter-final match; National team to compete in Asia Cup

Afghanistan’s U19 team lost its quarter-final match against South Africa on Sunday by 9 wickets. Afghanistan won the coin toss and chose to bat first. The Afghans scored 197 runs in 49.5 overs (all out). Unfortunately, the South Africans reached the target and scored 198 runs in just 39.3 overs (losing 1 wicket). Afghanistan will next play against the West Indies in a 5th place semi-final match in Dubai on Feb 25th.

In other cricket news, Afghanistan’s national team will compete in the 12th Asia Cup One Day International cricket tournament in Bangladesh. The tournament will be held from February 25th to March 8th. Other countries participating are host country Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, and defending champions, Pakistan. This will be Afghanistan’s first participation in a major one-day tournament. Afghanistan’s first match will be against Pakistan on Feb 27th. Then, they will take on host country Bangladesh on March 1st.

February 20, 2014: U19 cricket team enters World Cup quarter-finals; Afghanistan wins two ICC awards

Afghanistan’s U19 cricket team entered the quarter-finals of the ICC U19 World Cup after defeating Namibia by 4 wickets yesterday in Abu Dhabi. Namibia won the coin toss and chose to bat first. They scored 192 runs in 50 overs, losing 9 wickets. Afghanistan managed to score 196 runs in only 25.0 overs, losing only 6 wickets. Mohammad Mujtaba was chosen as the player of the match. Afghanistan ends the first round Group stage competition of the World Cup with a record of 2-1. They also defeated Australia by 36 runs on Monday, February 17th. Unfortunately, they did lose their first game of the competition to Bangladesh (by 10 wickets).

The U19 World Cup tournament consists of 16 teams, divided into 4 groups – A, B, C and D. Afghanistan is in Group B with Australia, Bangladesh, and Namibia. Australia and Afghanistan were the top 2 teams in Group B and so both will progress to the Super League quarter-finals. Afghanistan will move on to the quarter-finals instead of Bangladesh, as Afghanistan ended up with a higher Net Run Rate than Bangladesh, after they lost to Australia. Afghanistan’s first quarter-final match will be against South Africa on February 23rd.

In other cricket news, Afghanistan was awarded 2 awards by the ICC recently. The Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) won the 2013 “Best Overall Cricket Development Programme” award and the “Best Junior Participation Initiative” award. The awards recognized the country’s efforts in developing the sport of cricket at all levels.

January 24, 2014: One loss and one win for Afghan U19 team in Lahore

Afghanistan’s U19 team lost to Pakistan by 19 runs yesterday in Lahore, however, they came back today and defeated Pakistan by a whopping 214 runs. In today’s game, Pakistan won the coin toss, and chose to field first. Afghanistan scored 266 runs in 45 overs, losing 5 wickets; 100 runs came just from Hashmatullah Shaidi (not out). Pakistan was not able to reach the target, they bowled at only 52 runs. Afghanistan’s Fareed Ahmad became player of the match for taking 7 wickets. Afghanistan was touring Lahore to prepare for the upcoming U19 World Cup. They are scheduled for two warm-up matches, first against the West Indies on February 9th in Dubai and then against Scotland on February 11th in Abu Dhabi. Afghanistan will be in Group B with Australia, Bangladesh, and Namibia.

January 23, 2014: ACB announces Players of the Year; New stadium in Khost

The Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) announced today that Mohammad Nabi Esakhail and Hamid Hassan have been chosen to receive the “Players of the Year” award in a special ceremony held in Kabul, Pajhwok Afghan News reported. According to the PAN report, Finance Minister Hazrat Umar Zakhailwal, ACB Chairman Shahzadah Masood, Noor Mohammad Murad, ACB executive committee head and members of parliament and businessmen attended the ceremony. The two were chosen because of their performances in international competitions.

In related news, the foundation stone for a new cricket stadium in Khost province was laid by provincial governor Abdul Jabar Naeemi today, PAN also reported. The new stadium, which will have the capacity for 30,000 spectators, will be financed by the government of Germany at a cost of $1.3 million, according to the PAN report. The work is expected to be completed in two years.

January 21, 2014: Afghan U19 loses, A team wins, and women criticize ACB

Afghanistan’s U19 team lost to Pakistan’s U19 team today in Lahore by 8 wickets. Afghanistan won the coin toss and chose to bat first. They scored 180 runs in 45 overs (all out). The highest runs came from Hashmatullah Shaidi with 58. Unfortunately, Pakistan reached the target, and managed to get 181 runs in 30.5 overs (losing 2 wickets). Pakistan’s Imam-ul-Haq was given the player of the match honors for scoring a whopping 106 runs (not out). The two teams are scheduled for 2 more matches. Afghanistan is touring in Lahore to prepare for the upcoming U19 World Cup.

Meanwhile in Peshawar, Afghanistan’s A team defeated Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa by 78 runs in a 40 over match. The Pakistani team won the coin toss and chose to field first. Afghanistan set a target of 277 runs. Shafiqullah Shafiq alone scored 103 of the runs. The Pakistani team wasn’t able to reach the target, and bowled out in 187 runs.

Finally, in other cricket news, Tolo news reported on Sunday that a number of female athletes are criticizing the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) for not supporting women’s cricket like they support cricket for men. The female athletes said they want the ACB to provide transportation, food, and better opportunities for training, as well as overseas matches. At the moment, there is no national women’s team, however, according to the ACB, matches will be held in Kabul to establish a national team. No exact dates for the matches were cited in the Tolo news report.