Last night, in a star-studded event held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Afghanistan’s national cricket won the Laureus “Spirit of Sport” award. The Laureus World Sports Awards are viewed by many as sort of the “Oscars of sports”. It is held annually to celebrate the greatest achievements in the world of sports. Afghanistan’s national cricket team was given the award this year for their swift rise in the world of cricket. In the past 12 years, the Afghan team went from almost nothing to being a major player in international cricket. So far, the team has qualified for the one-day World Cup, as well as for 2 successive World T20s. A Laureus press release stated that “Afghanistan’s success on the pitch has, indeed, captured the imagination of the whole cricketing world”.
The award was officially accepted by the CEO of Afghanistan’s Cricket Board (ACB), Noor Mohammad Murad. Murad said that, “We are very proud to receive the Spirit of Sport Award, it recognizes the hard work of players, officials and administrators over the past 12 years in building cricket in our country.” He added that “Cricket is more than a game in Afghanistan. It is a tool which is making an impact in the development of peace, unity and development.”
ï»¿Â Afghanistan’s U19 (Under 19) cricket team officially entered the quarter-finals of the ICC (International Cricket Council) U19 World Cup after defeating Namibia by 4 wickets yesterday in Abu Dhabi. 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. Previously, Afghanistan also defeated Australia by 36 runs on February 17th. Their only loss so far came at the hands of Bangladesh, which was by 10 wickets. However, 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.
The success of the young Afghan team so far has proven that the future of Afghan cricket is very strong. This hasn’t gone unnoticed by the world. In fact, 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. Afghanistan has even introduced the sport into the school curriculum. The activities of the ACB has shown to be very successful as the Afghan cricket teams, both the national and younger teams, have done very well in international competitions.
Construction work on a cricket stadium in Afghanistan’s eastern province of Khost officially started today, according to a report from Pajhwok Afghan News (PAN). 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. Ever since the fall of the Taliban, and mostly due to the success of Afghanistan’s national cricket team in international competitions, the sport of cricket has grown to become very popular in the country, particularly in the east and south. An official told PAN that the hope is that this new stadium will produce more cricket players for the country. The foundation stone for the stadium project was laid by Khost’s provincial governor, Abdul Jabar Naeemi.
In other development news, Tolo news reported today that according to Kabul’s mayor (Muhammad Younus Nawandesh), over 2000 streets in Afghanistan’s capital of Kabul will be paved this coming year, thanks to the implementation of 26 new road projects. “According to Nawandesh, with the start of the [Afghan] new year, roads from the Polytechnic University to Mirwais Maidan, from Parwan Sewom to Sesad-o-Panzda, from Kartse to Shaheed Square and from Karte Chahar Square to Karte Sakhi will be reconstructed.” Furthermore, Tolo news quoted the mayor as saying that “roads from Tank Tel Logal will be extended to Chehl Dokhtaran, a special road will be built named Metro Bus for city buses, which will go through tunnels that will connect Karte Sakhi with Karte Ariana, and Sultan Mahmood Road will connect Airport Square to Pol Charkhi road”.
AÂ museum and cultural center will be built in Afghanistan’s central province of Bamiyan, officials announced today in Kabul. The museum will be built on land that will be provided by the Afghan government, and the $5.4 million funding for the construction project will come from the South Korean government. A funding agreement was signed today in Kabul between South Korea’s ambassador to Afghanistan, a representatives from the United Nations, and Sayed Makdhoum Raheen, Afghanistan’s Minister of Information and Culture.
According to officials, the museum will provide a modern space for showcasing archaeological and ethnographic artefacts. The goal of the project is that the museum will have a role in educating Afghanistan’s new generation on their own history, and even attracting international tourists and visitors to Afghanistan.
ï»¿Afghanistan’s Pajhwok Afghan News reported today that a middle school for boys that was closed for 8 years due to insecurity has been reopened. The school is in the Zheri district of Afghanistan’s southern Kandahar province.
An education official told Pajhwok Afghan News that the school was made operational 10 years but had to close just two years later because of fighting in the area that caused considerable damage to the building. On the day the school was reopened, 150 students showed up ready to learn. Officials hope that the numbers will increase in time.
ï»¿Afghanistan has become more business-friendly, according to a 316-page report released yesterday jointly by the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation (IFC). Two years ago, Afghanistan’s Ministry of Commerce and Industries (MoIC) implemented the Afghanistan Business Licensing Reform project with the aim of reducing administrative burdens and opportunities for corruption. The efforts of the ministry was recognized in the recently released report.
The report, which is titled, “Doing Business 2014: Understanding Regulations for Small and Medium-Size Enterprises” states that “Afghanistan made starting a business easier by reducing the time and cost to obtain a business license and by eliminating the inspection of the premises of newly-registered companies”. With the newly implemented licensing system in Afghanistan, it only takes 2 days, instead of 30 days to obtain a business license. The report also states that Afghanistan strengthened its secured transactions system by implementing a unified collateral registry for movable property.
Afghanistan won the coin toss but chose to field first. Kenya scored 93 runs. Afghanistan easily reached the target in 20.5 overs, thanks to excellent batting from Mohammad Nabi who hit 46 runs (not out).
With this historical win, Afghanistan for the first time in history has secured a spot in the 2015 International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. Afghanistan will be grouped in Pool A at the World Cup, amongst cricket power houses like Australia and England.
This makes it now 2 months in a row where Afghan sports has shined. Last month, the national football (soccer) team defeated India to win the 2013 South Asian Football Federation Cup – the country’s first international trophy in the sport.
This week, officials from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) announced that they are planning to invest $1.5 million (US) to train nearly 2000 government officials including 1,200 policemen in order to combat violence against women and girls in the country. – Shamshad TV
A new political movement, “Mawje Tahwol” or “Waves of Change” was formed this week as a means to encourage greater women’s participation in the upcoming elections and create awareness among the masses to vote responsibly, according to its head, Fawzia Kofi. – Tolo News
Officials from the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock said this week that saffron cultivation and production have increased compared to last year, and that cultivation has been increased to almost 26 provinces. The Ministry said that in the future, the cultivation of saffron will have a strong positive effect on Afghanistan’s economy. – Bakhtar News Agency
The Afghan power company, Da Afghanistan Breshna Shirkat (DABS), said earlier this week that a contract with a Turkish company for a power expansion project in Kabul has been signed. According to DABS, more than 40,000 families of Qala Mohib, Chil Dokhtaran and Dashti Barchi areas would have access to power as a result of this project. – Pajhwok Afghan News
Afghanistan made history tonight by defeating India 2-0 in the final match of the (SAFF) South Asian Football Federation Cup in Kathmandu, Nepal. It was the first time in history that Afghanistan has won this tournament. The first goal came from Mustafa Azadzoy in the 8th minute, and the second was scored by Sandjar Ahmadi close to the 62nd minute. In the meantime, Afghan goalkeeper Mansur Faqiryar did a phenomenal job of preventing opposition goals – not just in this game, but the tournament as a whole.
Celebrations have erupted across Afghanistan. There are even reports that the provincial governor of Balkh province, Atta Mohammad Noor, and Olympia Oil have offered thousands of dollars to the team as a reward for their success. Afghan football have improved tremendously over the recent years. Last month, Afghanistan defeated rival Pakistan 2-0 in the first international football match held in Kabul in 10 years. The SAFF Championship started on August 31st with 8 teams participating. The teams were divided into 2 groups. Group A consisted of India, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. Afghanistan was put in group B with Maldives, Sri Lanka, and Bhutan.
Click here to see video highlights of the match.
Afghanistan defeated Nepal 1-0 in a 2013 SAFF (South Asian Football Federation) Championship semi-final match on Sunday night in Kathmandu, Nepal. Afghanistan took the lead early in the football (soccer) match when Afghan attacker Sandjar Ahmadi scored the only goal of the game after the 10th minute. No more goals were scored as Afghan goalie Mansur Faqiryar brilliantly stopped one Nepalese attack after another. With this win, Afghanistan has become the first team to make it to the final match, which will be against the winner of the Maldives vs. India match on Monday night. The final match is scheduled for Wednesday, September 11th. A total of 8 teams participated in the tournament, which started on August 31st. Besides Afghanistan, and host country Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Pakistan, Maldives and Sri Lanka participated in the tournament.
Click here to watch the full match.
Afghan men athletes aren’t the only ones making news recently. Afghanistan’s female football (soccer) team defeated Kyrgyzstan’s national team 1-0 in a friendly match held yesterday in Kyrgyzstan. The goal of the game came from captain Sajia Sahar. Â The team will next play against Tajikistan on Monday.
The team is currently playing a series of friendly matches in preparation for the 2013 SAFF (South Asian Football Federation) Gold Cup, which is scheduled from August 31st to September 11th in Nepal. Â Last year, the team finished in third place in the event, even beating their rivals Pakistan 4-1.