All the sport events in Afghanistan are administered by the Afghan Sports Federation. The national sport of Afghanistan is Buzkashi although in the last couple of decade’s, cricket and football also did gain lot of popularity. The Afghan Sports Federation is promoting various sports & games in the country which included basketball, boxing, taekwondo, weightlifting, snooker, chess, cricket, football and others.
Cricket is the most popular sport in Afghanistan and it is one of the most watched sports the Afghan population watches on television. Domestic level friendly competition matches among the provinces are being held in which the provinces between south and eastern part of the country take participate with their local teams. Cricket did help the Afghan people to come together.
There are 320 cricket clubs in Afghanistan and 6 turf wickets; Afghanistan was awarded with the first class status by International cricket council in February 2017.
The Afghan National Cricket team was formed in 2001 and soon after that by 2008, they were able to rise to World Cricket League. The first international debut was made in 2009 in ICC World Cup qualifiers after which for the first time Afghanistan team qualified for ICC World Cup Twenty20, 2010. Their first cricket world cup debut was made in 2015. Afghanistan also has National women cricket team which was established in 2010.
The Afghan Cricket Board (ACB) has been declared as an official governing body of cricket in Afghanistan and its head office is located in the capital city of Kabul. ACB represents Afghanistan at International Cricket Council and became its member in 2013. ACB is also a member of the Asian Cricket Council.
Football is another popular sport in the country. The first Afghan National football team was formulated in 1922. The team joined FIFA in 1948 and the Asian Football Confederation in 1954. The team didn’t appear in any international forum from 1984 till 2003 due to internal conflicts and instability. The national stadium that is being used for football matches between provinces and other neighbouring countries was constructed in the regime of King Amanullah Khan. Afghanistan also has a women football teams which have been formulated in 2007. Afghan Football teams have been able to gain few achievements in last decade, some of them are mentioned below:
- Runner up of 2010 South Asian Game
- Champion of 2013 SAFF Championship
- Winner of 2013 FIFA Fair Play Award
- Runner up of 2011 & 2015 SAFF Championship
The Basketball team was established in 1936. The first official coach of the team was Tom Gouttierre who was an American Peace Corps. Afghanistan have both a men and women basketball team. Afghanistan did bucket following titles in the game
- Champions of 2010 South Asian Games
- Champion of 2012 Asian Beach Games
Mixed Martial Arts
In recent past, it has been seen that people of Afghanistan are also showing interest in Mixed Martial Arts. Many gyms have be established to promote the sport and fighters. Siyar Bahadurzada is the only mixed martial artist who competed in the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
This sport has recently boomed in Afghanistan. It can be said that the main influencer of this sport is Rohullah Nikapi, the first Afghan representative who won two medals one in 2008 and other in 2012 in Olympics.
Boxing also gained popularity in last few years after Hamid Rahimi won his debut fight in 2012 by Technical Knockout.
Apart from these sports, Afghanistan also competes in other sports and games like Volleyball, Ice-skating, snooker, chess and e.t.c. The government is encouraging the young players by providing them a proper forum to showcase their skills.