U-19 World Cup: Afghan team off to Bangladesh
Afghanistan are placed in Group B with two-time champion Pakistan, strong contender Sri Lanka and Canada in the 16-nation tournament that features nine Test-playing nations and seven Associate and Affiliate Members -- Afghanistan, Canada, Fiji, Namibia, Nepal, Ireland and Scotland.
Teams have been divided into four groups with the top two in each advancing to the Super League quarter-finals and the other two qualifying for the Plate Championships.
Prior to their departure for Bangladesh, the under-19 crew appeared in a press conference with Afghanistan Cricket Board chief executive Shafiqullah Stanikzai in Kabul.
Stanikzai said the under-19 team had been busy for the past one year playing practice matches at home and abroad and they were fully prepared to feature in the mega event.
He also said they had tried their best to select players based on their performance during practice matches. First 160 probables were selected, then 60 and then 33 and among them 18 players were picked in the last stage, Stanikzai said.
He said the under-19 side had played friendly matches with local clubs in India, Nepal and Zimbabwe in the lead up to the World Cup as part of their preparations.
“Our team has a much higher chance to win the World Cup because our under-19s had previously defeated Pakistan and Canada,” he said.
Meanwhile, the cricket board and SPA construction company signed a contract to build a cricket stadium in southern Kandahar province with nearly a million US dollars assistance from India.
ACB chairman Nasimullah Danish and SPA director Samiullah Samandari singed the contract in Kabul. Danish said the cricket stadium in Kandahar was located in a strategic area and its construction would provide a standard sports venue for players in the southern region.
He also thanked businessman Mahmood Karzai for donating 20 acres of land for the cricket stadium to the cricket board. Danish said the stadium in Kandahar would be constructed on international standards with the capacity to accommodate nearly 8000 spectators. He said the project would be completed in one year.
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