20 August 2019

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Sunday August 18, 2019
Kabul (BNA) On the occasion of 100th Independence Anniversary, cricket match to be held in Kabul city tomorrow.
Spokesman of Afghanistan Cricket Board told BNA reporter, Da Afghan Zawanan and Afghan Atalan to face in tomorrow match.
Samiullah Shinwari, Rahmanullah Garbuz and Shah Poor Zadran are players of Afghan Atalan cricket team, while Noor Ali Zadaran, Mohammad Nabi, Hamid Hassan and Najeeb Taraki are players of Da Afghan Zawanan cricket team.

Friday August 16, 2019

Kabul (BNA) Thirty or so teenagers kick up dust as they sprint around a field in Kabul, focused intensely as they chase an oval ball in the sweltering heat.
The players are sweating profusely but that has not dampened their enthusiasm for their new-found sport: rugby.
Essentially unheard of before the arrival of international forces, the sport has slowly begun to pick up steam in Afghanistan, where football, cricket and body-building are better known.
"I love the tackles and passes of rugby," said 16-year-old Lutfullah Kazemi, a high-school student who previously had been a football fan. He was drawn to the game largely because of its novelty, but stuck with it and now dreams of an international career.
In a country that has been at war for four decades, tough-guy sports including body building and taekwondo already have found a loyal following.
And thanks to the efforts over several years by die-hard fans, awareness around rugby is growing.
Stephen Brooking, a Briton who advises the Afghan Rugby Federation, is convinced Afghans have the characteristics to shine at the sport, notably physical conditioning.
For the moment, the focus is on seven-a-side rugby, known as rugby sevens, as it is the best way to build skills and is easier to understand than 15 a side.
"They have the skills, they have the fitness, they have the strength," Brooking told AFP.
"You get some very big strong Afghans and I think they would be also good at fifteens. Eventually, I am sure Afghanistan will produce a strong 15-a-side rugby team."
But conditions are less than ideal. Chunks of synthetic grass have been torn from the Kabul pitch, making tackling dangerous.
Only touch rugby, which is less physical, is allowed. Otherwise the players risk injury, explained Abdul Habib, the trainer of this team called "Qahramanan" -- meaning "champions" in Dari, the main Afghan language.
Still, the sport is growing. Today, 18 teams have been formed in schools and universities around Kabul and six more in provinces outside the capital, said Aref Wardak, the rugby federation's spokesman.
Three youth and adult championships are supposed to be created within months, and a women's team has even been started in Kabul with the hope of others coming soon.
- 'Where's the goal?' -
Afghanistan is not yet a member of the World Rugby governing body, but has received support from the Asian federation, which helps it train referees and coaches.
The national sevens side, made up of Afghan expatriates, participated in the Asian Games in Indonesia last year, narrowly missing out on the quarter finals.
To build a future for rugby, the federation is focusing on youth, starting in the schools.
"We must first convince teachers there's an interest in rugby, and explain the values of this gentleman's sport that is rooted in rules and a respect for the enemy. And the kids need to find it fun," Wardak said.
Habib, who started coaching the Qahramanan team about four years ago, said it was a difficult sport to learn.
"It took me about two months to teach them the rules," he said.
Wardak, the rugby federation spokesman, recalled his first contacts with college students.
"They would ask me where the goal was and why we had to pass the ball backward -- and they thought a scrum was the start of a fight," he said.
Brooking said the thing players need the most in Kabul is pitches. Not easy to come by in a city experiencing a demographic boom.
A plot of land about 10,000 meters square (2.5 acres) will soon be allocated for rugby practice, according to the Afghan Rugby Federation, though funds are still lacking to construct any facilities or put in a decent turf.

Tuesday August 13, 2019
Kabul (BNA) Mohammad Shahzad's contract has been "suspended for indefinite period" by the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) for breaching the ACB Code of Conduct. Confirming the suspension, ACB tweeted, "Afghanistan Cricket Board today suspended the contract of wicket-keeper batsman @MShahzad077 for an indefinite period due to breach of ACB's Code of Conduct by the player". Shahzad has been punished for breaching ACB’s policy which requires any contracted player to ask for the governing body's permission to travel out of the country. "As per ACB's policies, any player travelling out of the country is required to seek the permission of ACB. Shahzad has not adhered to this, repetitively," the statement read.
This is not the first time when Shahzad has been punished for breaching the ACB Code of Conduct. He was sent back home midway through the World Cup 2019 after playing just two matches.
"Mohammad Shahzad has also breached the ACB Code of Conduct previously and was recently called for questioning by the ACB Discipline Committee in relation to a disciplinary matter during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019," the statement read.
The decision to suspend Shahzad was also a result of him not attending the meeting scheduled with the "Discipline Committee" which was supposed to look into a "disciplinary matter" involving him during the World Cup 2019.
"Mohammad Shahzad did not attend meetings scheduled with the Discipline Committee on 20th and 25th of the last month."
During World Cup 2019, Shahzad had accused some of the ACB officials of conspiring against him after he was declared unfit to play.
"I still don't know why I was ruled unfit when I was fit enough to play. Some people in the board (ACB) have conspired against me. Only manager, doctor and the captain knew that I was going to be replaced. Even the coach (Phil Simmons) found out much later. It was heart-breaking," Shahzad had told PTI from Kabul.
The final decision on Shahzad's future will be taken only when the Discipline Committee meets after the Eid-ul-Adha holidays.
"The Discipline Committee will meet after Eid-ul Adha holidays to assess the breaches by Mohammad Shahzad and make a decision to be publicized soon," the statement added.

Saturday August 10, 2019

Kabul (BNA) A "culture of abuse" continues to thrive at Afghanistan's soccer federation because of world soccer governing body FIFA's "apparent inaction" in a sexual abuse scandal involving female Afghan players, according to the national women's team coach. In a letter dated August 6, coach Kelly Lindsey and the team’s program director, Khalida Popal, said that FIFA had been dragging its feet in following up on allegations of sexual misconduct. Earlier this year, FIFA banned Afghanistan Football Federation's former head Keramuddin Karim for life and fined him about $1 million after finding him guilty of abusing his position and sexually abusing female players.
At least five Afghan players accused him of repeated sexual abuse in 2013-2018. But in their letter, sent to FIFA President Gianni Infantino, Lindsey and Popal said that several other individuals were directly or indirectly linked to the case have not been disciplined or fined. "The accounts mention numerous other individuals, including senior individuals in ongoing positions of power, who committed sexual and physical abuse and/or failed to report abuse even though they knew or ought to have known of the abuse and/or sought to cover up abuse," the letter reads.
The two also criticized FIFA for allegedly asking the women to gather more evidence in the case, instead of sending their own investigators. "We did this... at significant cost to our safety and wellbeing," Lindsey and Popal wrote. "We were dismayed at the time that such a task should fall to us...but we also felt we had no choice," they added. FIFA said it would answer the letter "shortly," adding that it was "carefully looking into allegations that have been made against additional persons." "As stated before, FIFA will not hesitate to impose sanctions if and when justified," it said. FIFA began its investigation in December when it suspended Karim.

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