Sport in Afghanistan
The two most popular sports of Afghanistan are cricket and football. This is not so much a surprise since they have a lot of open areas that are conducive to such sports. But the traditional sport of the Afghan people is what is called Buzkashi. If you have watched Rambo, you would have seen him playing buzkashi with the Afghan fighters. It is played by horse-mounted men who attempt get a goat carcass to a goal. Some games recorded can take up to days to finish.
There are other sports played in Afghanistan like boxing, basketball and taekwondo, but football is where they seem to excel. In 2011 SAFF Championship, the Afghanistan national football team (formed in 1922) tasted its first victory against Nepal and in the 2013 SAFF Championship where they were the clear favorites, they won their first title against India. The heroes of that game were Azadzai and Sandjar Ahmadi who scored one goal each and goalkeeper Mansur Faqiryar, the reason why India never made one.
During the Taliban regime, the playing of sports had a setback with all sports banned for both men and women. During the US occupation the playing of sports became popular again, and women were participating in sports in greater numbers too. Unfortunately, in 2021 with the Taliban taking over the country has meant that the playing of sports, for women in particular, is in jeopardy.
The Afghan people have a great stadium to play their football matches, Ghazi Stadium in Kabul. The stadium was built in 1912 during King Amanullah Khan's reign, and renovated in 2011.
Below are more details of sports, sporting events and sports people related to Afghanistan.
Popular sports of Afghanistan
Traditional or Regional Sports of Afghanistan
- Buzkashi (the national sport of Afghanistan) — played mainly in the northern part of the country. In this sport, riders on horses attempt to drag a goat carcass towards a goal.
Afghanistan Sporting Success
- On April 9, 2010, Afghanistan defeated Nepal to win the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) Twenty20 Cup.
- Afghanistan's cricket team won their first ever Test match, defeating Ireland in March 2019.
Athletes from Afghanistan
- Rashid Khan (cricket)
- Nadia Nadim (football)
- Rohullah Nikpai (taekwondo) - only Olympic Games medal winner
Afghanistan Sports trivia
- Afghanistan's national sport of Buzkashi is a form of polo that is centered around claiming the carcass of a goat.
- The Afghanistan national cricket team was granted Test playing status in 2017. In their first test match, played against India in Bengaluru, they lost the match within 2 days.
- In 2015 Afghanistan held its first marathon, which included one woman, Zainab. She became the first Afghan woman to run in a marathon within her own country.
Afghanistan at major events
- Afghanistan first competed at the Olympic Games in 1936, and has been to many Olympics since then. They have missed 1952, 1976, 1984, 1992 and 2000 (banned). It was the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan that brought on a U.S. led to boycott the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games. More about Afghanistan at the Summer Olympics
- Afghanistan at the Paralympics
- Afghanistan have also been involved in the Asian Games. A precursor to the Asian Games, The West Asian Games, were held in New Delhi, India, in 1934, and included India, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Palestine.
- Afghanistan at the Cricket World Cup
- Afghanistan at the Cricket T20 World Cup
Past sporting events hosted in Afghanistan
- Afghanistan and Oman shared the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) Twenty20 Cup in November 2007
Upcoming sporting events in Afghanistan
Annual sporting events held in Afghanistan
Sporting Facilities in Afghanistan
- Ghazi Stadium, Kabul
- Afghanistan Football Federation Stadium, Kabul
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