Cricket fans in Afghanistan have something to cheer about. Officials in Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) on Wednesday said India has pledged one million USD for the construction of an international cricket stadium in southern Kandahar province. The stadium, which will be of international standards with all the training and coaching facilities, will come up in Aino Mena township of Kandahar City. The budget would be allocated under small projects that the Indian government is carrying out in Afghanistan. Aino Mena is one of the posh townships in southern Afghanistan. In 2012, Mahmud Karzai, President Hamid Karzai’s brother, gave land to ACB for the purpose of building a world-class cricket stadium there. Noor Mohammad Murad, Executive Director of ACB, expressed his gratitude to government of India for the grant, and said the stadium would not only provide training facilities to budding cricketers in Kandahar but also encourage them to play professional cricket. Once the stadium is ready, Mr. Murad expressed hope that a great number of provincial cricketers would benefit from it. In a statement, the Indian government said it is willing to support and assist in building the infrastructure for not only cricket but for other games as well. Kandahar, one of the most restive provinces in Afghanistan, has long been the hotbed of insurgency. Locals believe promotion of sports and establishing these world-class stadiums with give fillip to peace and normalcy in the province. “Sports are a tool to divert minds of people who face umpteen hardships on daily basis,” says Ismail Shah, a local. “It will spread the message of peace and heal wounds left by years of war and despondency.” Afghanistan has experienced remarkable achievements in the field of cricket. This year the national team for the first time in its history took part in the twenty20 world cup. The team has also qualified for the limited overs world cup next year. ACB has constructed international cricket stadiums in Kabul, Nangarhar and Khost provinces and work on similar stadiums in some other provinces is underway. A private stadium has also come up in Kabul, constructed by a local businessman where domestic cricket matches are being played. Naeem Khan, a cricket fan in Kandahar, expressed happiness over the help offered by India but he believes one million USD is not enough for the construction of an international standard stadium. “It would be wonderful if they provide more funds because we want a world-class stadium which is at par with cricket stadiums in India or Australia,” he says. Cricket brings message of peace in restive Maidan Wardak Sports are considered a universal language and a powerful tool to espouse the cause of peace, stability, understanding and tolerance. It bridges the divide between boundaries, cultures and people, and creates an atmosphere of peaceful existence, social cohesion and economic prosperity. In restive Maidan Wardak province, sports is being used as an effective tool to promote peace and provide healing touch to people who have suffered enormously due to years of war and civil unrest. Earlier this month, the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) announced plans to build a world-class cricket stadium in Maidan Wardak province, which is likely to give platform to youth interested in cricket. The announcement came after many youth called on Abdul Majeed Khogyani, the Governor of Maidan Wardak, and reiterated their demand for a chunk of land where a world-class cricket stadium can be established. The governor assured to provide land for the purpose. The local cricket teams in the province have bagged many trophies in past one year, which shows the notable improvement in their performances. The provincial cricket team clinched the Ramadan Cricket Tournament, which was held last month in Kabul. The stupendous victory brought great cheer to people in the province. Attaullah Khogyani, the governor’s spokesman, believes sports like cricket is an expression of freedom and free will. In recent times, footballers, cricketers and taekwondo athletes have brought many laurels to the country, he says. “Sports brings the message of peace and brotherhood and if we promote popular games like cricket in the province the youth would automatically have a bright future,” he says. Afghanistan crash Zimbabwe by 100 runs to level the series 2-2 . After conceding first two matches of the four match ODI series, Afghanistan bounced back strongly, defeating hosts Zimbabwe convincingly in the remaining two matches to square the series. On Thursday, Afghanistan took to field in the fourth and last one day international match being played at Queens Sports Club, Bulawayo with an aim to level the series. Zimbabwe needed a victory to lift the trophy and Afghanistan needed a victory to share the trophy. Both teams had their task cut out. It was Afghanistan that prevailed at the end of day, trouncing their opponents by the massive margin of 100 runs. Batting first, Afghanistan did not get off to an ideal start, losing both their openers at the score of 31 runs. The middle order rose to the occasion and helped team score reach 259 runs in 49.1 overs. Shafiqullah top scored with delightful 56 runs off 43 balls. Samiullah Shenwari (40), Nasir Jamal (39), Mohammad Nabi (37) and Gulbadin Naib (31) chipped in with important cameos in the middle overs. For Zimbabwe, D Tiripano claimed five wickets for 63 runs. He managed to strike at regular intervals but conceded 63 runs at the economy of 6.87. Chasing the target of 260 runs, Zimbabwe was bundled out for 159 runs in 38 overs. The top and middle order collapsed like a pack of cards. They lost first six wickets with the scoreboard reading 29 runs before Mutumbami and Maruma came together to put up 100 run partnership. The lower order tried to offer some resistance but it was not enough. For Afghanistan, Sharafuddin Ashraf claimed three wickets while Aftab Alam and Daulat Zadran claimed two wickets each. D Tiripano was declared man of the match for his five wicket haul and Sikandar Raza walked away with player of the tournament award. After starting the series on a high note, Zimbabwe lost the plot in last two matches. In the first match on July 18 Zimbabwe defeated Afghanistan by six wickets. In the second match on July 20, Zimbabwe again came strongly at Afghanistan, clinching 8 wicket victory. In the third match on July 22, On Tuesday, playing their third match, Afghanistan bounced back and defeated hosts by two wickets to hosts them clean sweep. Afghanistan will play four ODIs and two four-day games during their 28-day tour of Zimbabwe. This is Afghanistan’s first overseas tour against a Test-playing side. Zimbabwe beat Afghanistan by 8 wickets to take 2-0 lead: Sikander Raza’s century propelled Zimbabwe to a massive nine wicket victory against Afghanistan in the second limited overs cricket match at Queens Sports Club, Bulawayo on Sunday. Chasing the target of 257, Zimbabwe’s openers came to the party and set the foundation of a gigantic victory. Raza top scored with 141 runs off 133 balls, while his opening partner Hamilton Masakadza missed the century by seven runs. Raza and Masakadza put up 224 runs partnership for the first wicket. Masakadza’s 93 came off 113 balls before he was bowled by Sharafuddin Ashraf. Raza’s delightful innings were studded with seven big hits and eleven boundaries. He was sent back to pavilion with just two runs to reach the target. Sebu Williams, who top scored in the first match, joined skipper Brendon Taylor at the fall of Raza’s wicket to complete the formalities. Zimbabwe reached the target with eight wickets and 6.3 overs to spare. Sharafuddin Ashraf and Samiullah Shenwari claimed one wicket each. Earlier, asked to bat first, Afghanistan scored 256 runs in their stipulated 50 overs at the loss at 7 wickets. Opener Usman Ghani scored brilliant 118 runs off 143 balls. Other players chipped in with small cameos. For Zimbabwe, the batting stars Raza and Masakadza took two wickets each. Pacer Panyangara (2) bowled well upfront, generating some good pace. The win gives hosts a 2-0 lead in the four-match ODI series. On Friday, Zimbabwe beat Afghanistan by six wickets. Raza was declared man of the match for his brilliant innings of 141 and two wickets. Afghanistan will play four ODIs and two four-day games during their 28-day tour of Zimbabwe. This is Afghanistan’s first overseas tour against a Test-playing side. Kandahar’s Maiwand Atalan gearing up for this year’s APL : The southern province of Kandahar is often described in the mainstream media as birthplace of the Taliban, and the most insecure and restive province in the country. But very little is written about the progress and development made in various sectors in this province of over a million people.
An estimated 17 out of 33 Afghan multimillionaires hail from this province. Nearly 177,000 children in Kandahar attend schools of which 53,000 are girls. More than 3,000 students graduated last year. The entrepreneurs are now reaching out to global markets for their agro products and bringing new industries to hometown.
Sports like cricket and football is the new expression of their liberty and freedom. The city has several small playfields and a huge football stadium built back in the communist period with 30,000 seating capacity. A huge number of youth are seen playing in these fields and honing their skills.
The Afghan Premier League started by Tolo and Roshan has a team called the “Maiwand Atalan” meaning the “Heroes of Maiwand” referring to the Second Anglo-Afghan battle of 1889 that took place in Maiwand.
The success of the team on the football field has opened up opportunities of playing abroad. The Provincial Olympic Committee officials told Afghan Zariza that the team was last year invited to Iran for practicing with the Iranian national team funded by the Governor’s office. The team’s support staff has received training in the United Arab Emirates. Maiwand Atalan is gearing up for the third season of premier league, which will be played between August and October 2014 in Kabul. The team has huge fan following, and most of their fans turn up at the stadium to cheer for their team. Thousands of people come all the way from Kandahar to watch their favorite players in action. “I cannot wait for the third season of Afghan Premier League to begin,” says Ismail Shah, a resident of Khost. “Maiwand Atalan is one of the difficult sides to beat and this year they have bright chances.” Shah is planning to come all the way from Khost to Kabul to cheer for his favorite team. The 21 players of the team were selected last month based on their performance in a local football tournament. APL, a high-competitive local premier league, has caught the imagination of people across Afghanistan after two successful seasons in 2012 and 2013. The third season, to be played between August and October this year, is already generating palpable frenzy in the football circles here. “The war is not over, peace negotiations are fragile at best, and the international community is leaving yet Afghans are resilient and determined to build their country,” says Atiqullah Amiri, a resident of Kandahar. “The Afghan Premier League is a great example of how innovative ideas can bring Afghans from all walks of life and regions together to build unity and nation.” He hopes that one day a player from Maiwand Atalan will be purchased by Barcelona or Manchester United. “That will be something,” he adds.
Zimbabwe beats Afghanistan by 6 wickets in first ODI
E Chigumbara’s sensible knock of 39 off 60 balls ensured that Zimbabwe reached the target with four overs and four balls to spare.
Afghanistan kicked off their first overseas campaign against a Test-playing side on a losing note. Hosts Zimbabwe, who decided to bowl first, defeated Afghanistan by six wickets in their first limited-overs match played at Queens Sports Club, Bulawayo on Friday. The win gives hosts a 1-0 lead in the four-match ODI series. Chasing a modest target of 224, Zimbabwe started slowly, losing two wickets with 27 runs on the board. Vusi Sibanda (4) and Hamilton Masakadza (10) fell cheaply to Afghanistan’s strike bowlers Shapoor Zadran and Dawlat Zadran, who claimed one each. With score reading 27 for the loss of two wickets, Sikander Raza and Brendon Taylor came to the party. Raza scored watchful 42 off 61 balls while Taylor scored 43 off 52 balls, before Raza was retired hurt with the score reading 89. Both middle-order lynchpins played their strokes freely and rotated the strike much to the frustration of Afghan bowlers. They brought up their half century partnership in 18th over.
Then came Sean Williams to the crease and turned around the game for Zimbabwe. Williams joined skipper Taylor in the middle and both made the chase look easier. Scoring 70 off 65 balls, with one big hit and eight boundaries, Williams gave home crowd their money’s worth. In the first part of his innings, he looked subdued. In the second part, he went on rampage, and brought his half century with two delightful hits to boundary off Daudat Zadran. Taylor fell to Samiullah Shenwari when the score of Zimbabwe was 120. Williams was caught and bowled by skipper Mohammad Nabi when Zimbabwe were only 18 short of the target. E Chigumbara’s sensible knock of 39 off 60 balls ensured that Zimbabwe reached the target with four overs and four balls to spare. Of the Afghan bowlers, Shapoor Zadran, Dawlat Zadran, Mohammad Nabi and Samiullah Shenwari claimed one wicket each. Earlier, Afghanistan accumulated 223 runs in their stipulated 50 overs, losing nine wickets. Samiullah Shenwari top scored with 65 runs. His patient innings came off 85 balls with 1 six and 3 fours. Opener Noor Ali Zadran chipped in with 43 runs off 107 balls with four hits to the fence. The slow run rate by top order made the job of middle order difficult. It was skipper Mohammad Nabi’s brisk innings of 54 runs off 32 balls that gave impetus to the score. Nabi hit three sixes and equal number of fours to bring up his half century in just 28 balls. Shafiqullah’s cameo of 24 runs off 17 balls with two lofted sixes towards the end of innings helped Afghanistan post a modest total on the board. Williams was declared man of the match for his quickfire 70 off 65 balls. Afghanistan will play four ODIs and two four-day games during their 28-day tour of Zimbabwe. This is Afghanistan’s first overseas tour against a Test-playing side.
Afghanistan set Zimbabwe a target of 224 runs
Afghanistan has set the target of 224 runs to Zimbabwe in their first limited-overs match being played at Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. Batting first, Afghanistan accumulated 223 runs in their stipulated 50 overs, losing nine wickets. Samiullah Shenwari top scored with 65 runs. His patient innings came off 85 balls with one six and 3 fours. Openor Noor Ali Zadran also chipped in with 43 runs off 107 balls with four hits to fence. It was skipper Mohammad Nabi’s brisk innings of 54 runs off 32 balls that face impetus to the score. Nabi hit three sixes and equal number of fours to bring up his half century in just 28 balls. Shafiqullah’s cameo of 24 runs off 17 balls with two lofted sixes towards the end of innings helped Afghanistan post a defendable total on the board. Zimbabwe has started their chase. In 3 overs, they have scored 8 run with a loss of one wicket. Shapoor Zadran claimed the wicket of dangerous V Sibanda. Afghanistan will play four ODIs and two four-day games during their 28-day tour of Zimbabwe. This is their first overseas tour against a Test-playing side.