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    Ahmadzai named as Unicef's goodwill ambassador

    JALALABAD (PAN): A former captain of the Afghan cricket team was named as  Unicef’s national goodwill ambassador in recognition of his relentless efforts for promoting the game in the war-hit country. 

    The title, unprecedented in Afghanistan's history, was conferred on Raees Ahmadzai at a ceremony, attended by local and international officials, including Unicef representative Peter Krowley, the acting minister of public health and the regional director of the World Health Organisation (WHO).

    Addressing the gathering in Jalalabad, the capital of eastern Nangarhar province, the Unicef representative and the acting minister acknowledged that sport was an effective way of combating narcotics and polio in the country.

    The speakers also praised Ahmadzai for training hundreds of youth and promoting the sport through his organisation.

    Crowley said Ahmadzai had played an important role in winning several international matches for his country. The retired cricketer constantly struggled to develop the skills of his fellows and he was, therefore, designated as the national goodwill ambassador, he added.

    Ahmadzai expressed his gratitude to the visiting minister and Unicef representative for the acknowledgement of his services. The only dream he had long wished for was the independence and progress of Afghanistan, Ahmadzai said, pledging he and his organisation would continue cooperation with the anti-polio drive.

    With financial contribution from the UN organisation, Ahmadzai has conducted cricket skill development trainings for over a thousand cricket players across the country.