Afghanistan national football team

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Afghanistan
Shirt badge/Association crest
Nickname(s) The Lions of Afghanistan (Persian: شيران خراسان‎)
Association Afghanistan Football Federation (AFF)
Sub-confederation CAFF (Central Asia)
Confederation AFC (Asia)
Head coach Erich Rutemöller
Captain Zohib Islam Amiri
Most caps Zohib Islam Amiri (43)
Top scorer Balal Arezou (15)
Home stadium Ghazi Stadium and Afghanistan Football Federation Stadium
FIFA code AFG
FIFA ranking 143 Decrease 10 (18 December 2014)
Highest FIFA ranking 122 (April 2014)
Lowest FIFA ranking 204 (January 2003)
Elo ranking 179
Highest Elo ranking 179 (11 September 2013)
Lowest Elo ranking 207 (17 November 2010)
First colours
Second colours
First international
Afghanistan Afghanistan 0–0 Iran 
(Kabul, Afghanistan; 25 August 1941)[1]
Biggest win
 Bhutan 1–8 Afghanistan Afghanistan
(New Delhi, India; 7 December 2011)
Biggest defeat
 Turkmenistan 11–0 Afghanistan Afghanistan
(Ashgabat, Turkmenistan; 19 November 2003)

The Afghanistan National Football Team (Persian: تيم ملى فوتبال افغانستان‎), popularly known as the "The Lions of Afghanistan" (Persian: شيران خراسان‎) [2][3][4] is the national team of Afghanistan and is controlled by the Afghanistan Football Federation. Founded in 1922, they joined FIFA in 1948 and the AFC in 1954, as one of the founding members. They play their home games at the Ghazi National Olympic Stadium in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan.

They played no international fixtures from 1984 to 2003 FIFA World Rankings and the game was discouraged under the religious Taliban regime from 1996 to 2001. The Afghan national team eventually returned to the international arena in 2002, when they played South Korea in the Asian Games, losing 2–0.[5] Since their reemergence in international football. Afghanistan made it to the final match of SAFF Championship 2011, and it was their best performance in an international competition to date, where they were eventually defeated by the hosts and title holders India. In the group stage, Afghanistan drew with India, and defeated Sri Lanka and Bhutan, and won the semi-final against Nepal. In 2013, the Afghan team defeated Pakistan 3–0 in a Friendly game, and in the SAFF Championship 2013, it defeated Bhutan 3–0 in the group stage as well as Sri Lanka, 3–1. On 11 September 2013, the Afghans became SAFF 2013 champions after defeating India 2–0. They have reached a peak of 132 in September 2013 in the FIFA World Rankings. Goalkeeper, Mansur Faqiryar received the Best Player of the Tournament Award. The victory led to celebrations across Afghanistan.

At the 2014 Ballon D'or ceremony, the Afghanistan Football Federation won the FIFA Fair Play Award. Afghanistan was honored with the award for the outstanding performance of the Afghanistan football during the year, despite chaos of war and difficult political situation the country is facing. FIFA in a statement, posted on its website said, “Following a year of remarkable achievement in grassroots level football, building infrastructure to further develop football throughout the country and nurturing a professional league despite enduring over a decade of disorder stemming from war, Afghanistan has been presented the 2013 FIFA Fair Play award.” On 10 June 2014 Afghanistan Football Federation moved from South Asian Football Federation SAFF to CAFF

History[edit]

Early history[edit]

Formed in 1922 and affiliated to FIFA since 1948, the Afghanistan Football Federation was one of the founding members of Asian Football Confederation in 1954.[6] The first football club established in the country, Mahmoudiyeh F.C., was founded in 1934. Three years later the team traveled to India and took part in 18 games of which they won 8, lost 9 and drew 1.[citation needed] The second football club founded was Ariana Kabul F.C. which was established in 1941. This team traveled to Tehran, Iran upon invitation, played 3 games, winning one game and losing two.[citation needed]

The country's first international match was played against Iran[7] on 25 August 1941, which was drawn, 0–0 at Ghazi Stadium in Kabul. Afghanistan's only appearance in an Olympic Games football tournament was at the 1948 Summer Olympic Games when they played Luxembourg on 31 July 1948 and lost 6–0.[citation needed] Prior to 2002, Afghanistan was last seen on the international stage during 1984 Asian Cup Qualification, with its last match being a goaless draw with Hong Kong on September 15, 1984. Afghanistan played no international games from 1984 to 2002, due to the latter years of Soviet war in Afghanistan, Civil war in Afghanistan (1992–1996), and religious Taliban regime.

2000s[edit]

Afghanistan national football team (in red uniform)

Following the demise of the Taliban regime, Afghanistan participated in their first international tournament in the 2003 SAFF Gold Cup where they lost all three group stage matches to India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.[citation needed] Later in the same year, Afghanistan took part in the 2004 AFC Asian Cup qualification where they won against Kyrgyzstan but lost to Nepal and failed to make it to the next round.[citation needed] Afghanistan started its FIFA World Cup campaign for the first time in 2003 where they played Turkmenistan in 2006 FIFA World Cup qualification. They lost both matches in aggregate of 13–0.[citation needed] This was first time Afghanistan participated in FIFA World Cup qualification though they had been affiliated since 1948. Afghanistan lost a friendly match against Tajikistan in November 2005, after which the team went to Pakistan to take part in the 2005 South Asian Football Federation Gold Cup, which they lost to the Maldives and Pakistan but won against Sri Lanka.[citation needed] They also participated in the first edition of the AFC Challenge Cup in 2006, for which they drew both matches with Chinese Taipei and the Philippines with Afghan footballers Hafizullah Qadami and Sayed Maqsood Hashemi both scoring to produce a drawn result[citation needed] and on their second campaign of world cup in 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification were eliminated by Syria.[citation needed] In the SAFF Championship 2008 Afghanistan lost to Bhutan but drew with Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.[citation needed] Afghanistan entered the second round of the AFC Challenge Cup in 2008,[8] by winning in group D of the AFC Challenge Cup Qualification, drawing with Bangladesh and winning against Kyrgyzstan. In the 2008 AFC Challenge Cup, Afghanistan lost all group matches to India, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.[citation needed]

Afghanistan in two International friendly match vs Nepal and Malaysia in 2008 was unable to come with a victory while they could managed to draw with Nepal while lost with a big difference to Malaysia. In 2009 SAFF Championship Afghanistan lost all its matches to Maldives, India and Nepal.[citation needed] Hashmatullah Barakzai scored only goal of Afghanistan against Maldives which they lost. In November 2010, Afghanistan played an friendly against Tajikistan which the teams lost 1–0.[citation needed]

2011 onwards[edit]

Players are celebrating after winning their 2011 SAFF Championship Semi Final against the tournaments highest ranked team Nepal. It also marked Afghanistan's first win over Nepal.

Afghanistan beat Bhutan 5–0 in 2010 AFC Challenge Cup Qualification.[citation needed] In the first leg, they won Bhutan 3–0 with Sidiq Walizada scoring all 3 goals and 2-0 in the second leg. In the second qualification round, Afghanistan lost to Nepal and North Korea, whilst beating Sri Lanka but failed to qualify for the next stage.[citation needed]

Afghanistan competed in their third World Cup qualifying campaign playing the first leg of their first match against Palestine in Tajikistan due to security reasons, which they lost,[citation needed] and the second leg of the match in Palestine which they drew with Balal Arezou scoring,[citation needed] meaning they failed to advance to the second round and were eliminated.

Afghanistan's defender Djelaludin Sharityar and Sunil Chhetri of India in action during their game in SAFF Championship 2011.

In 2011 SAFF Championship Afghanistan drew their first match against India, the hosts and defending champion, with Balal Arezou scoring in the first five minutes.[citation needed] They then beat Sri Lanka, with two goals from Sandjar Ahmadi and one from Ata Yamrali, and then beatBhutan 8–1,[citation needed] the biggest victory in the history of Afghanistan football.[citation needed] In this match, Balal Arezou scored the only Hat-trick of the competition[citation needed] with 4 goals and the team scored the quickest goal of the tournament through Ata Yamrali in the third minute.[citation needed] For the first time Afghanistan reached Semi Final of the tournament and faced Nepal whom they beat 1–0 in Extra time with the only goal scored by Balal Arezou in the 101st minute.[citation needed] It was the first win of Afghanistan over Nepal. In the final Afghanistan played India to whom they lost 4–0.[citation needed] After the match vs India, Kam Air Airlines awarded every player with $1,000 cash, and president Hamid Karzai appreciated their success and performance in the tournament.[citation needed]

On 20 August 2013 Afghanistan played Pakistan in a FIFA approved friendly for the first time in 36 years and first time in home ground after a decade which ended to a 3-0 victory over Pakistan.[9][10]

2013 SAFF Championship[edit]

Afghanistan entered the 2013 SAFF Championship as the clear favourite and the highest ranked team by FIFA in the tournament placed at 139th. Afghanistan started the campaign well with a 3 goal victory over the minnows Bhutan with goals from Amiri, Azadzai and Barakzai. The second match again ended with a 3-1 victory over Sri Lanka with goals of Rafi, Amiri and Barakzai. Amiri scored a long range goal from the middle of the ground very beautifully touched the top of the net. Rafi's goal went inside directly from the corner spot touching the corner of the net. In the last match of group stage Afghanistan draw with the goal machine team Maldives. Semi Final of the tournament was the repeat of last Years edition with Afghanistan defeating Nepal with a solitary goal of Sandjar Ahmadi at their home that took Afghanistan in to the final of the tournament with India. Mansur Faqiryar of Afghanistan showed an outstanding goalkeeping performance by saving two back to back Penalty kick of Nepal in the last minutes of the match. Faqiryar proved to be the best goalkeaper ever Afghanistan had and this tournaments best goal keeper. In several occasion against Nepal and Maldives he came to save the Lions of Khorasan (Afghanistan national football team).

The Final match of the tournament saw the 2011 SAFF Championship finalist again at Dashrath Stadium Nepal where in Afghanistan outplayed the defending champions India by 2 goals.[11] Afghanistan showed an outstanding performance, attracting eyes of every corner of the globe. Goals from Azadzai and Sandjar Ahmadi in each half of the game put the lions of Khorasan (Afghanistan national football team) up front, for the first SAFF Championship title in their history. Mansur Faqiryar was named the best Player of the tournament, by his outstanding goal keeping skills throughout the tournament.

Kit[edit]

In 2010 the Afghanistan Football Federation had signed a 5-year contract, with Danish sports brand Hummel, to sponsor both the Men's National Team and the Women's National Team from 2010 till 2015.

Badge[edit]

Afghanistan's Records[edit]

Against Played Won Drawn Lost GF GA GD  % Won
 Bangladesh 4 0 3 1 5 8 −3 0%
 Bhutan 5 4 0 1 17 4 +13 80%
 China PR 1 0 0 1 0 6 −6 0%
 Chinese Taipei 1 0 1 0 2 2 0 0%
 Hong Kong 2 0 1 1 2 4 −2 0%
 India 7 2 1 4 3 12 −9 33%
 Iran 1 0 0 1 0 4 −4 0%
 Iraq 2 0 0 2 1 7 −6 0%
 Japan 1 0 0 1 0 2 −2 0%
 Jordan 1 0 0 1 1 6 −5 0%
 Kyrgyzstan 4 3 1 0 4 1 +3 75%
 Kuwait 1 0 0 1 2 3 -1 0%
 Laos 3 0 3 0 1 1 0 0%
 Luxembourg 1 0 0 1 0 6 −6 0%
 Malaysia 1 0 0 1 0 6 −6 0%
 Maldives 4 0 1 3 3 13 −10 0%
 Mongolia 1 1 0 0 1 0 +1 100%
 North Korea 1 0 0 1 0 2 −2 0%
   Nepal 6 2 1 3 3 10 −7 33%
 Pakistan 5 3 0 2 6 3 +3 60%
 Palestine 2 0 1 1 1 3 −2 0%
 Philippines 2 0 2 0 1 1 0 0%
 Qatar 5 0 1 4 3 16 −13 0%
 Saudi Arabia 2 0 0 2 0 8 −8 0%
 Syria 2 0 0 2 1 5 −4 0%
 South Korea 1 0 0 1 2 8 −6 0%
 Sri Lanka 8 6 1 1 11 6 +5 75%
 Tajikistan 5 0 0 5 2 13 −11 0%
 Turkmenistan 4 1 0 3 3 20 −17 25%
Total 82 21 17 44 75 175 −100

Home stadium[edit]

The Ghazi Stadium in Kabul, which is now referred to as the Afghan Football Federation Stadium.

Major football matches in Afghanistan are held at the Afghan Football Federation Stadium (popularly known as the Ghazi Stadium) in Kabul. Built during the reign of King Amanullah Khan in 1923, the stadium has a capacity of around 25,000 people.[12] The first international football match hosted there was played between Iran and Afghanistan in 1941 and was drawn 0–0. Their 2006 FIFA World Cup qualification second leg match was played at the Ghazi Stadium against Turkmenistan which Afghanistan lost 2–0, having previously lost the first leg 11–0. The stadium is maintained and controlled by Afghanistan Football Federation. The Kabul Premier League and other local football tournaments take place in the stadium.[13]

Results and Fixtures[edit]

The following are Afghanistan's results and fixtures since 20 August 2013

      Win       Draw       Loss

# Date Venue Opponent Result Win/
Loss/
Draw
Goalscorer(s) Captain Competition
1 20 August 2013 Afghanistan Football Federation Stadium, Kabul  Pakistan 3-0 W Ahmadi 20' Hatifi 32', Mohammadi 71' Amiri International Friendly
2 2 September 2013 Halchowk Stadium, Kathmandu  Bhutan 3-0 W Amiri 37' Azadzoy 76'Barakzai 88' Amiri 2013 SAFF Championship
3 4 September 2013 Halchowk Stadium, Kathmandu  Sri Lanka 3-1 W Rafi 62' Amiri 76'Barakzai 87' Amiri 2013 SAFF Championship
4 6 September 2013 Dasarath Rangasala Stadium, Kathmandu  Maldives 0-0 D Amiri 2013 SAFF Championship
5 8 September 2013 Dasarath Rangasala Stadium, Kathmandu    Nepal 1-0 W Ahmadi 11' Amiri 2013 SAFF Championship
6 11 September 2013 Dasarath Rangasala Stadium, Kathmandu  India 2-0 W Azadzoy 9' Ahmadi 62' Amiri 2013 SAFF Championship
7 13 April 2014 Al-Shabab Stadium, Dubai  Kyrgyzstan 0-0 D Amiri International Friendly
8 4 May 2014 Dushanbe  Tajikistan 1-0 L Amiri International Friendly
9 12 May 2014 Al Kuwait Sports Club Stadium, Kuwait  Kyrgyzstan 1-0 W Mashriqi Amiri International Friendly
10 14 May 2014 Kuwait, Malé  Kuwait 3-2 L Amiri 60' Shayesteh 67' Amiri International Friendly
11 20 May 2014 Hithadhoo Zone Stadium, Addu City  Philippines 0-0 D Amiri 2014 AFC Challenge Cup
12 22 May 2014 Hithadhoo Zone Stadium, Addu City  Turkmenistan 3-1 W Amiri 45+1' Hatifi 61' Shayesteh 86' Amiri 2014 AFC Challenge Cup
13 24 May 2014 Hithadhoo Zone Stadium, Addu City  Laos 0-0 D Amiri 2014 AFC Challenge Cup
14 27 May 2014 Hithadhoo Zone Stadium, Addu City  Palestine 2-0 L Amiri 2014 AFC Challenge Cup
15 29 May 2014 Hithadhoo Zone Stadium, Addu City  Maldives 1-1 (8-7 p.s.o) L Amiri 2014 AFC Challenge Cup

Current Squad[edit]

The following players were selected for the 2014 AFC Challenge Cup

0#0 Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club
1 1GK Mansur Faqiryar (1986-01-03) 3 January 1986 (age 28) 17 0 Germany VfB Oldenburg
22 1GK Hamidullah Yosufzai (1981-12-02) 2 December 1981 (age 33) 14 0 Afghanistan Shaheen Asmayee F.C.
23 1GK Safiullah Barekzai 0 0 Afghanistan
16 2DF Djelaludin Sharityar (1983-03-15) 15 March 1983 (age 31) 22 1 Germany 1. FC Schweinfurt 05
4 2DF Faisal Sakhizada (1990-07-15) 15 July 1990 (age 24) 17 0 Australia Dandenong Thunder SC
3 2DF Zohib Islam Amiri (1987-05-02) 2 May 1987 (age 27) 43 5 India FC Goa
14 2DF Farzad Ataie (1991-12-30) 30 December 1991 (age 22) 8 0 Afghanistan Toofaan Harirod F.C.
21 2DF Mujtaba Faiz (1989-11-21) 21 November 1989 (age 25) 3 0 Afghanistan Shaheen Asmayee F.C.
2 2DF Abassin Alikhil (1991-04-19) 19 April 1991 (age 23) 3 0 Germany Eintracht Frankfurt II
20 2DF Mustafa Hadid (1988-08-25) 25 August 1988 (age 26) 14 2 Germany Altona 93
15 2DF Hassan Amin (1991-10-12) 12 October 1991 (age 23) 3 0 Germany 1.FC Saarbrücken
10 3MF Mohammad Mashriqi (1987-07-07) 7 July 1987 (age 27) 22 1 India Bhawanipore F.C.
7 3MF Mustafa Azadzoy (1992-07-24) 24 July 1992 (age 22) 10 2 Germany TB Uphusen
17 3MF Mustafa Zazai (1993-05-09) 9 May 1993 (age 21) 2 0 Germany FC St. Pauli II
18 3MF Ahmad Hatifi (1986-03-13) 13 March 1986 (age 28) 12 1 India Mumbai F.C.
6 3MF Mohammad Rafi Barekzay (1990-06-06) 6 June 1990 (age 24) 8 1 Afghanistan Toofaan Harirod F.C.
5 3MF Zamir Daudi (1987-08-05) 5 August 1987 (age 27) 4 0 Germany TGM SV Jügesheim
8 3MF Faysal Shayesteh (1991-06-21) 21 June 1991 (age 23) 4 2 Thailand Songkhla United F.C.
19 3MF Amredin Sharifi (1992-03-23) 23 March 1992 (age 22) 4 0 Afghanistan Shaheen Asmayee F.C.
11 4FW Sandjar Ahmadi (1992-02-10) 10 February 1992 (age 22) 18 8 Germany SC Vier- und Marschlande
9 4FW Balal Arezou (1988-12-28) 28 December 1988 (age 26) 25 15 Norway Asker Fotball
12 4FW Hashmatullah Barakzai (1987-08-26) 26 August 1987 (age 27) 17 2 Afghanistan Shaheen Asmayee F.C.
13 4FW Hamidullah Karimi (1993-02-05) 5 February 1993 (age 21) 2 1 Afghanistan Toofaan Harirod F.C.

Call-ups past years[edit]

The following players have been called up for Afghanistan over the past years.

Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club Latest call-up
GK Shamsuddin Amiri (1985-02-12) 12 February 1985 (age 29) 17 0 Afghanistan Kabul Bank FC {{{latest}}}
GK Abdul Qayum Sapond 0 0 Afghanistan Maiwand Atalan F.C. {{{latest}}}
DF Muqadar Qazizadah (1988-09-11) 11 September 1988 (age 26) 10 0 Afghanistan Shaheen Asmayee F.C. India, 2013
DF Ali Yarzada (1985-10-15) 15 October 1985 (age 29) 21 0 Afghanistan Toofaan Harirod F.C. India, 2013
DF Qays Shayesteh (1988-03-22) 22 March 1988 (age 26) 3 1 Netherlands VV Glanerburg India, 2013
DF Sayed Maqsood Hashemi 10 2 Afghanistan Ordu Kabul F.C. ?
DF Zakria Rezai (1989-07-29) 29 July 1989 (age 25) 9 0 Afghanistan Ordu Kabul F.C. ?
MF Ata Yamrali (1982-07-05) 5 July 1982 (age 32) 14 3 Germany VfL 93 Hamburg India, 2013
MF Waheed Nadeem (1987-01-07) 7 January 1987 (age 27) 9 1 Afghanistan Toofaan Harirod F.C. India, 2013
MF Maroof Mohammadi (1991-07-02) 2 July 1991 (age 23) 6 1 Afghanistan Toofaan Harirod F.C. Pakistan, August 2013
MF Israfeel Kohistani (1987-06-05) 5 June 1987 (age 27) 34 2 Denmark Vejen Sports Forening India, 2013
MF Zubayr Amiri (1990-05-02) 2 May 1990 (age 24) 3 0 Germany FC Bayern Alzenau Palestine, June 2011
MF Harez-Arian Habib (1982-02-12) 12 February 1982 (age 32) 13 4 Germany Hessen Kassel India, 2013
MF Hamid Sadid (1989-05-24) 24 May 1989 (age 25) 1 0 Sweden FK Bosna 92 Örebro Tajikistan, 2014
MF Ghulam Hazrat Niazi 4 0 Afghanistan Ordu Kabul F.C. ?
FW Milad Salem (1988-03-03) 3 March 1988 (age 26) 3 0 Germany VfL Osnabrück 2008
FW Sidiq Walizada (1993-09-25) 25 September 1993 (age 21) 8 3 Netherlands v.v. Zuidland Bhutan, 2013
FW Munirulhaq Nadim 2 0 Afghanistan Simorgh Alborz F.C. Tajikistan, 2014
FW Hafizullah Qadami (1985-02-20) 20 February 1985 (age 29) 25 4 Afghanistan Kabul Bank FC 2007
FW Mahdi Mohammadi (1996-06-30) 30 June 1996 (age 18) 0 0 Sweden Bodens BK

Competition Records[edit]

FIFA World Cup Records[edit]

Asian Qualification Records
Year Round GP W D L GS GA
1930 to 2002 Did Not Enter
2006 to 2014 Did Not Qualify
Total 0/20 0 0 0 0 0 0

AFC Challenge Cup Records[edit]