Football in Afghanistan
|Football in Afghanistan|
Afghanistan national football team (in red uniform)
|Governing body||Afghanistan Football Federation|
|National team(s)||men's national team|
Football is one of the two most popular sports in Afghanistan; the other one being cricket. Formed in 1922 and affiliated to FIFA since 1948, the Afghanistan Football Federation and the Afghanistan national football team lay dormant for many years. Afghanistan took part in the 1948 Summer Olympics, playing just once in a 6-0 defeat to Luxembourg. The Afghans also appeared twice at the Asian Games.
Afghanistan did not play a competitive international match from 1984 until 2002, when it competed at the Asian Games in Busan, South Korea. In March 2003, the nation recorded its first victory in almost 20 years when it beat Kyrgyzstan 2-1 in an Asian Cup qualifying match. Sayed Tahir Shah and Farid Azami were the scorers on that day.
The Afghanistan national football team occasionally played in Asian Cup qualifiers and in early 2003 celebrated its first victory, a 2-1 win against Nepal. The team made it to the runners-up position in the 2011 SAFF Championship but failed to win the trophy. However, in the 2013 SAFF Championship, the Afghan team won its first international football trophy after playing against India.
History of football in Afghanistan
The first football games to be played in Afghanistan were played between 4 school teams back in 1923, these four teams were Maktab Habibiyeh, Maktab Esteghlal, Tafrih Team and Mohajer Team.
The first domestic club league was established in 1946 with the foundation of the Kabul City League, comprising 12 clubs. Other regional or city leagues existed in the seventies in Herat, Kandahar and Mazar-e Sharif.
The first Afghan football club was Mahmoudiyeh F.C., which was founded in 1934. The team traveled to India three years later and took part in 18 games of which 8 were won, 9 lost and 1 tied. Ariana Kabul F.C. was established in 1941 and became the second Afghan football club. This team traveled to Tehran upon invitation from Iran, played 3 games in which 1 was won and 2 were lost. In the same year the Afghanistan national football team (Ariana Kabul F.C.) was formed when it played the national football team of Iran in a 0-0 draw for first international game.
Afghanistan did not play a competitive international match from 1984 until 2002, when it competed at the Asian Games in Busan, South Korea. The results were 10-0 to Iran, 11-0 against Qatar and 11-0 to Lebanon. The nation recorded its first victory in almost 20 years in March 2003 when they beat Kyrgyzstan 2-1 in an Asian Cup qualifying match. Sayeed Tahir Shah and Farid Azami were the scorers on that day. Their results in the 8-nation South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Cup were also respectable – losing to Sri Lanka and Pakistan 1-0 and India 4-0.
Although it did not play in any international games from 1984 to 2003 due to internal conflicts, it is striving and hoping to make it to FIFA one day. In 2007, the Afghanistan women's national football team was created. It is directed by the Afghan Sports Federation or the Afghanistan Olympic Committee. During the 2011 SAFF Championship, the Afghan team marked its first win over Nepal and made it to the runners-up position but failed to win the trophy from five-times-champion India.
In 2000 the Pakistani Afghan Football Club Chaman from Chaman (Balochistan) played an invitation tour in Kandahar, during which twelve of the Pakistani players were jailed and had their heads shaved by Taliban religious police, as punishment for wearing shorts.
On 20 August 2013, Afghanistan defeated Pakistan in a friendly football match that was held at the Afghan Football Federation (AFF) stadium in Kabul. The following month, during the 2013 SAFF Championship, Afghanistan beat six-times-champion India and received its first international football trophy. Afghans celebrated their victory all across the country.
|1||Afghan Premier League|
There following is an incomplete list of football stadiums in different cities of Afghanistan:
- Ghazi Stadium in Kabul
- Afghanistan Football Federation Stadium in Kabul
- Kandahar Stadium in Kandahar 
- Khost City Ground in Khost
- Herat Stadium in Herat
- Balkh Stadium in Mazar-i-Sharif
- Jalalabad Stadium in Jalalabad
- Ghazni Stadium in Ghazni
- Kunduz Stadium in Kunduz
- Lashkargah Stadium in Lashkargah
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