Yesterday was a proud day for Afghans. Our Cricket Team won the Asian Cricket Cup Twenty20 Championship winning against Hong Kong. Our national football team is the runner up of South Asian Football Federation Cup losing to India by 4 goals. We congratulate the nation and our teams for bringing us a reason to celebrate this marvelous win.
The story of our national football team is particularly of a tremendous success. Despite all the problems of lack of resources and training, they could reach to the final against India. We could have won the final of SAFF Championship if the match referee had not made that very controversial decision to red card goalie of our team.
It was a biased decision by the referee, who red carded the goalkeeper Hameedullah Yousufzari on a minor issue when he pushed the referee after a foul decision. Its unfortunate that because of a decision, our team lost at the final moments. Afghan players had a grip of the match till the 68th minute when the referee red carded our goalie.
Despite this unfortunate decision and the loss, let us appreciate our players who worked hard and played wonderful throughout the tournament. It has been for the first time that Afghanistan has reached a final of any championship.
It's a tremendous achievement and moment of celebration for the nation. We urge the government to encourage our football players for their hard work. A player of the national team lost his 4 relatives in the deadly blast in Kabul last week on Ashura killing 80 people.
Despite this tragic incident, he played well. The players dedicated their win of the semi-final to the victims of Kabul attacks.
Our cricket team brought us for the first time the Asian Cricket Cup championship beating Hong Kong. Beating by eight runs, our team scored a target of 126 runs. Hong Kong team could score 117 runs at all out.
Football and cricket are becoming the sports of craze in Afghanistan after four decades of wars and crisis. Afghanistan became the member of Asian Cricket Council in 2003. This craze and passion has come from our neighbors India and Pakistan.
Presently there are over 12 thousand registered crickets across the country nearly in all the provinces with exception to some insurgency-hit areas. The National Team has been making remarkable performance in many international tournaments. Our Under-15 Team has remained the runner-up of Asia Cup in 2005.
These new games are the sports of our new generation overtaking Buzkashi—an all-time Afghan-passion. With the consecutive achievements, football and cricket is becoming the sports of streets all across the country.