There were high hopes that Afghanistan would win the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Championship final for the second time; but the Afghan team could not make it in an interesting final match against India. Afghanistan played as the defending champions as they had won the Cup in the 2013 edition in Kathmandu. The match was played in Thiruvananthapuram, India on Sunday, Jan 03, and the Indian team had the advantage of home crowd as well. Afghan team played to its full strength and determination but lost the match 2-1 in the extra-time.
Though Afghan team faced a defeat the fans were not really disappointed and they gathered in a large number at the airport to receive the Afghan players. For them the real achievement was that their team had qualified for the final match. Their welcome was, therefore, not different from the last one when their team had returned after winning the SAFF final.
For Afghanistan it is really a great achievement that Afghan team could qualify for the final. Looking at the socio-political scenario, it is really difficult to expect that the country is in a position where it can concentrate properly on different games. However, different individuals and teams, in certain sports have not disappointed the nation though they face myriads of problems in their games. The developed countries of the world, having solved most of their basic problems can concentrate more on sports and they are able to allocate more budgets as well for different sports event. But for Afghanistan it is very difficult that the government should spend a large amount on sports as it has to deal with many other issues.
Nonetheless, it is important that different sports and games must be promoted within a country as it will develop not only sportsmanship but also support in solving certain social evils as well. Youngsters, who get engaged in different sports, are able to keep themselves away from different social evils and, thus, they can play a constructive and positive role within the society.
Sports can also be a way of earning fame and respect for the country. Different individuals and teams basically represent different nations in the regional and international sports event. Therefore, they bring good name to their countries if they are able to win the events.
Sports can be helpful in promoting positive relations among different nations as well. The countries that participate in the sports events basically involve in healthy and positive competition and can also have the chance of promoting their cultures and understand others traditions and lifestyles.
Even though sports have not been able to get enough attention by the concerned authorities in Afghanistan, different individuals and teams have performed really well in some of the events at regional and international levels. Afghan football team won the SAFF Championship 2013 for the first time by beating India. The cricket team on the other hand qualified for World Cup Cricket 2015 and it has also qualified for T20 World Cup 2016 and Afghan Taekwondo hero, Rohullah Nekpa, won bronze medal in 2012 Summer Olympics.
With these titles on the their chests, the sportsmen in Afghanistan have shown that they are not inferior to others and more attention can really turn them into heroes who would be able to earn respect and honor for the country.
On the other hand, sportsmen also require support from the people. The affection and support of the people can fill the hearts of the players with motivation and determination and, therefore, they will be able to do their best.
Our country is undergoing the influence of war, instability and disorder to a large extent. The enemies of the nation have nothing else to offer except bloodshed and violence. The people are really afraid of the situation and they want entertainment and amusement. And, they can achieve all these only through sports.
In the recent times, it has been observed that the politicians have not been able to achieve, what the sportsmen have acquired for the nation.
They have brought the down-trodden people of Afghanistan a ray of hope and a realization of the fact that the Afghans are capable of performing well in all fields of life. Politics has only brought rifts within the people and has divided them on ethnic lines, but the games have saved their unity and their honor.
It is really important for the authorities in Afghanistan to understand that the games and sportsmen have a higher role than just playing games; therefore, they should be given due attention and they should be provided with the facilities so that they are able to compete with other nations of the world. Different sports institutions should be maintained properly and they should be free of corruption and discrimination. It is the spirit of sports that talent should be respected and promoted; therefore, all the sports institutions must have high regard for talent.
If promoted properly, sports can turn into a weapon to fight against the evils like terrorism and drugs, which have influenced our nation, especially our youth to a large extent. We, therefore, need to promote sports and make it a way to divert the attention of the youth from these evils.