World Bulletin / News Desk
Afghanistan secured a convincing 3-0 win against Pakistan in a friendship football match on August 20 in a house-full Kabul stadium and amid heightened security measures.
“I am really happy to see this win, it is a big thing for us,” Yousaf Kargar, the Afghan team’s coach, told Anadolu Agency.
He said the Afghan squad showed their talent and caliber as a very powerful team in the region, gifting the victory to the Afghan people.
Afghanistan was the runner-up in the 2011 edition the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) championship, which takes place every two years.
The friendly was played at the Afghan Football Federation stadium in Kabul with a capacity of seven thousand people.
Sanjar Ahmadi kicked the first goal for Afghanistan in the 19th minute, the only in the first half.
In the second half Ahmad Arash Atifi scored the second goal in the 53rd minute and Marul hit the third and final goal 17 minutes later.
The spectators cheered and celebrated after the end of the match, the first to be hosted by Afghanistan in a decade.
This is the first match against a foreign country played in Afghanistan in last ten years.
Kabul has not hosted a game with a Pakistani team since 1977.
Even though the match was considered a symbolic goodwill gesture to ease tensions between the two countries, Ali Stanikzai, 28, thinks it was a sports fight against a rival.
“Football is everything for me. Now I feel that we defeated Pakistan in every field, politics or otherwise,” he said.
Cross-border attacks have long been a divisive issue between the two neighbors.
Thousands of villagers have been displaced and many killed by rockets that the Afghan government says come from Pakistan.
Pakistan, for its part, says it has been hit by similar attacks from Afghanistan.
The goodwill friendly comes days before an upcoming visit by Afghan President Hamid Karzai to Islamabad for talks with newly-elected Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and other Pakistani leaders.
Many saw Sharif's election as the beginning of a new era of relations between the two neighboring
Stanikzai asked the government to arrange more such sports events in the country to help the youth forget about the war.
“Sports can save people from fighting. It can save people from drugs."Güncelleme Tarihi: 21 Ağustos 2013, 09:18