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    US sports leaders to mentor Afghan coaches

    KABUL (PAN: Senior US coaches and administrators would visit Afghanistan in February to conduct training and mentoring for local sports officials as part of a sports diplomacy effort, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said on Saturday.

    Co-sponsored by ISAF and the US Embassy in Kabul, the exchange is part of an overarching sports diplomacy programme designed to help develop community-based sports plans for Afghan youth.

    During the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) visit, US coaches would mentor their Afghan counterparts and basketball, soccer, volleyball and taekwondo federation leaders, a statement from ISAF said.

    “The group will conduct workshops on developing and conducting local youth sports programs, and will work with the Afghan National Olympic Committee on developing a Presidential Fitness Challenge program for Afghan youth,” it added.

    Coming at the invitation of Lt. Gen. Zahir Aghbar, head of the Afghan National Olympic Committee, the visit was discussed during a US Embassy/ISAF-sponsored trip to the United States in November by a delegation of Afghan sports federation leaders.

    During their trip, Afghan sports leaders observed sporting events and toured sports facilities across Florida. They also visited the US Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.

    The programme will result in Afghan men and women coaches earning a basic AAU coaching certification.