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Afghanistan win first international soccer title

Afghanistan win first international soccer title

Sep 11, 2013 - 15:46

KABULinfo-icon (PANinfo-icon): Afghanistaninfo-icon won their first international trophy in soccer on Wednesday, beating India 2-0 in the South Asian Football Federation Championship in the Nepalese capital Katmandu.

The news of Afghanistan victory sent waves of happiness throughout the country, with enthusiast Afghans resorting to firing into the air to express their jubilation in the capital Kabul.

Celebrated Afghan player, Mustafa Azadzoi scored the first goal while Sanjar Ahmadi was the second Afghan player to score another goal.

It merits mention the Indian team made its way to the final for the ninth time in the history of the face-off while this was Afghanistan’s second final showdown.

Afghan fans and parliamentarians thronged to the ground to watch and provide some sort of moral boaster to their players’ fierce fight against India.

India was dreaming to secure a hat-trick of SAFF Football Championship titles but that ended up in a smoke and Afghanistan avenged its humiliating defeat against India in New Delhi back in 2011.

It was seen that the winners were helped by smacks from Mustafa Azadzoi---8th minute and Sanjar Ahmadi ---63rd.

Indian players including Robin Singh and Jeje Lalpeklhua played well and offered a tough time to Afghan players.

The Afghan team presented a widely admired game by giving a tough time to its rival players as the Indian team staged a wave of counter attacks against Afghanistan.

The “men in red” tightened their grip on the game after every botched strike by Indian team to score a goal. Afghanistan scored its maiden goal, which brought its rival team under immense pressure.

Indian’s Chhetri tried his level best to score at least one goal but his entire team seemed discouraged with every passing minute.

When it was over, the players walked around the field with Afghan flags draped on their shoulders. They then held hands and started to dance in a circle in celebration.

"I'm proud of my whole country. I congratulate my dear countrymen," Afghanistan goalkeeper Mansur Faqiryar said.

In Kabul, some Afghans gathered in Meccainfo-icon Market, a store selling a variety of items, to watch the game on TV. Shortly after it ended, celebratory gunfire was heard around the capital.

Earlier in the day, the Presidential Palace said President Karzai phoned Afghan players and congratulated them on their achievements. He directed his three cabinet ministers --- educationinfo-icon, rural development and finance -- to travel to Katmandu and give moral support to the national side.

Afghans began playing soccer about 90 years ago, and the country's national federation was founded in 1922. Afghanistan joined FIFA in 1948.

From the 1950s through the '70s, soccer gained a strong following in the country, but it nearly disappeared during the 10-year Soviet occupation from 1979-89 and the civil war that followed from 1992-96.



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