2053758_FULL-LND.jpgFIFA?s investment in Afghanistan pays-off - FIFA.com
An impressive climb of 48 positions to 141 in the latest FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking, a consistent increase in the amount of registered players, a newly created football league with teams from all regions of the country, and a wider recognition for women’s football stand out as the key features of Afghanistan’s promising football development.
While FIFA’s 2006 Big Count revealed that 19,781 players were officially registered in Afghanistan, the figure has more than doubled to 54,000, according to the records of the Afghan Football Federation (AFF).
The Afghan Premier League (APL) that kicked-off last season proved an immediate success. Eight teams from as many different regions took part, with the final – played in front of a capacity crowd of 5,000 fans at the AFF stadium in Kabul – seeing Toofan Harirod defeat Simorgh Alborz 2-1 to win the inaugural title. Live coverage of all matches on Afghanistan’s Tolo TV contributed to increase the league’s awareness around the country.
Thought it was time for some rare news from Afghanistan, where the US has 100k soldiers, 20 of who were killed this year. Its not all for nothing at least. Something as small as the freedom to play soccer, and for women to play soccer, is important to Afghanistans future progress to a stable free state. What will happen to it when NATO leaves?