US & Canada
Science & Technology
In Pictures: Afghanistan’s football league
Afghanistan’s inaugural Premier League proves a hit with fans across the country.
The inaugural Afghan Premier League reached its finale on Friday when Herat(***)s Toofan Harirod beat Mazar-e-Sharif(***)s Simorgh Alborz 2-1 to become league champions [AFP]
20 Oct 2012
Over 5,000 thousand fans crammed into the Kabul stadium to watch the final which took place near the notorious Ghazi stadium where the Taliban held public executions [AFP]
The six-week tournament pitted eight teams from across the nation against each other. All of Afghanistan(***)s 34 provinces were represented in the tournament, which was broadcast live on television and radio [AFP]
"We(***)ve come a long way from Herat to cheer for our team," one fan told Al Jazeera(***)s Bernard Smith. "More than a thousand of us have made this journey." [AFP]
With 65 per cent of the population under 25, organisers see young people as the driving force behind the league(***)s success. "They [young people] are lovers of sport and lovers of football and that is what we see today", league organiser Said Safiq Gawhari told Al Jazeera. [AFP]
"Football is helping these boys by providing a platform for youths to have something to turn to besides drug addiction or joining the insurgency," said Afghan Football Federation official Ali Askar Lali [AFP]
The prize money is not bad either - $15,000 dollars for the winning team, which is a lot for the players – selected through a reality TV show – who have been earning $10 a day [AFP]
National hero Rohullah Nikpai, a Taekwondo Olympian who won bronze medals in Beijing and London was on hand to dish out the golden football shoe trophy to the winning team [AFP]
And in an historic moment, earlier in the evening two Kabul-based women(***)s teams made up of national squad members played in front of the largest ever crowd for a women(***)s match on Afghan soil [AFP]
More from Gallery
In Pictures: Eid al-Fitr 2021 amid coronavirus and conflict
In Pictures: Ruins and devastation as Israeli attacks pummel Gaza
In Pictures: Small-town India hospital reeling under COVID wave
In Pictures: Inside India’s ‘jumbo’ COVID-19 hospital in Mumbai
Israel masses forces near Gaza as air strikes continue
Celebrities weigh in on Israel-Palestine conflict
What is ‘black fungus’ infection found in India’s COVID patients?
What led to the most recent Israel-Palestine escalation?