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Accolades pour in for Afghans

The Prince of Jordan, Ali Bin Hussein, congratulated a tough and awe-inspiring victory by the Afghan national team, who trounced India by two goals to land their first international trophy and maiden South Asian Football Federation’s (SAFF) Championship.

‘Heartfelt congratulations to my friends and colleagues in Afghanistan on winning the South Asian Football Federation’s Championship and scoring their first international football title,’ said an emotionally charged Prince.

Hussein also added, ‘The progress of Afghan football is an inspiration to us all.’
Shaikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Kharifa heaped praise on the Afghanistan national team and that it shall enthuse their community across the world.

‘I would like to congratulate the Afghan football family and the fans for this tremendous achievement. I feel this victory will prove to be an inspiration to millions of Afghans around the world,’ he said.With Afghanistan the only n ation to have qualified for the AFC Challenge Cup 2014 along with hosts Maldives, the AFC president backed them to come good in the competition which shall aid them to qualify for the 2015 Asian Cup.

‘Afghanistan’s success in South Asia has also served a caution to 2014 AFC Challenge Cup title aspirants. They have showed their mettle at the regional level and I think they would be one of the favourites in Maldives.

Alberto Colaco mentioned that the 2013 edition of the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Championship was by far one of the most competitive ever.

Most south Asian nations including India haven’t progressed much over the last two years as they are often seen complaining about a lack of infrastructure, not playing enough on FIFA matchdays and so on. Colaco pointed that more players from the region need to play in competitive leagues abroad.

I think that it will help if the SAFF Countries have more players playing in the more competitive leagues abroad. Unfortunately the lower leagues in Europe and the US do not attract players from India as the salaries are lower than what they get here (in India).’

Afghanistan’s 2-0 win over India for the South Asian Football Federation Championship trophy was a historic occasion - the country’s first international football victory,’ he said in a statement issued here by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).

The win has also seen the Afghanistan National Football Team rise seven places in FIFA’s world rankings table to the 132nd spot.

Cash and flats for SAFF champs


Celebratory gunfire erupted across Afghanistan when the side won the South Asian Football Federation title in Kathmandu, beating India 2-0 to bring a rare moment of joy to the war-torn nation. Afghan President Hamid Karzai on rewarded the nation’s football team with cash and free flats after winning their first trophy - and piled extra gifts on their heroic goalkeeper. Karzai welcomed the victorious players to his palace in the capital Kabul and announced that each player would receive a free two-room apartment in a new development in the city and 100,000 Afghanis ($1,800) in cash. Goalkeeper Mansur Faqiryar, who made a series of crucial saves throughout the tournament, was given a larger reward of $20,000 in cash as well as an apartment.
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