Afghanistan national football team
|Nickname(s)||Lions of Afghanistan|
|Association||Afghanistan Football Federation (AFF)|
|Sub-confederation||SAFF (South Asia)|
|Head coach||Mohammad Yousef Kargar|
|Asst coach||Elyas Ahmad Manucher|
|Most caps||Kohistani & Amiri (31)|
|Top scorer||Balal Arezou (9)|
|Home stadium||Ghazi Stadium|
|Highest FIFA ranking||139 (April 2013)|
|Lowest FIFA ranking||204 (January 2003)|
|Highest Elo ranking||187 (2 March 2013)|
|Lowest Elo ranking||207 (17 November 2010)|
| Afghanistan 0–0 Iran
(Kabul, Afghanistan; 25 August 1941)
| Bhutan 1–8 Afghanistan
(New Delhi, India; 7 December 2011)
| Turkmenistan 11–0 Afghanistan
(Ashgabat, Turkmenistan; 19 November 2003)
The Afghanistan national football team (Pashto: د افغانستان ملي فوټبال ټيم )(Persian: تیم ملی فوتبال افغانستان ) 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.
They played no international fixtures from 1984 to 2003 FIFA World Rankings and the game was not encouraged under the 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. Since their reemergence in international football, they have reached a peak of 139th in April 2013 in the FIFA World Rankings. At present, there is a low level of participation in football due to lack of funds and security problems inside the country. Despite this, Afghanistan made it to the final match of SAFF Championship 2011, 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.
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. 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. 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.
The country's first international match was played against Iran on 25 August 1941, which was drawn, 0–0 in Ghazi Stadium, 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. Prior to 2002, Afghanistan was last seen on the international stage during 1984 Asian Cup Qualification. Afghanistan played no international games from 1984 to 2002, due to Soviet war in Afghanistan, Civil war in Afghanistan (1992–1996) and Taliban regime.
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. 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. 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. 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. 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 and on their second campaign of world cup in 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification were eliminated by Syria. In the SAFF Championship 2008 Afghanistan lost to Bhutan but drew with Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Afghanistan entered the second round of the AFC Challenge Cup in 2008, by winning in group D of the AFC Challenge Cup Qualification, drawing with Bangladesh and winning against Kyrgyzstan. During the AFC Challenge Cup campaign, Afghanistan played two friendlies with Bangladesh and Kyrgyzstan, drawing and winning their games respectively. In the 2008 AFC Challenge Cup, Afghanistan lost all group matches to India, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.
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. 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.
Afghanistan beat Bhutan 5–0 in 2010 AFC Challenge Cup Qualification. In the first leg, they won Bhutan 3–0 with Sidiq Walizada scoring all 3 goalsand 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.
Afghanistan comepted 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, and the second leg of the match in Palestine which they drew with Balal Arezou scoring, meaning they failed to advance to the second round and were eliminated.
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. They then beat Sri Lanka, with two goals from Sandjar Ahmadi and one from Ata Yamrali, and then beatBhutan 8–1, the biggest victory in the history of Afghanistan football. In this match, Balal Arezou scored the only Hat-trick of the competition with 4 goals and the team scored the quickest goal of the tournament through Ata Yamrali in the third minute. 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. It was the first win of Afghanistan over Nepal. In the final Afghanistan played India to whom they lost 4–0. 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.
Afghanistan all-time record against all nations
Ghazi Stadium is home stadium of Afghanistan which is a multi-purpose stadium in Kabul, Afghanistan. It was built during the reign of Amānullāh Khān in 1923, The stadium has a capacity of 25,000 people. First international 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. Ghazi Stadium was used more for executions and public works than sport during taliban regime. Post Taliban regime stadium is being maintained and controlled by Afghanistan Football Federation. Kabul Premier League and other local football tournaments take place in the stadium.
Results and fixtures
The following are Afghanistan's results and fixtures since 2010.
- As of 8 December 2011
Win Draw Loss
|16||2 March 2013||Vientiane, Laos||Sri Lanka||1–0||W||Balal Arezou 45'||2014 AFC Challenge Cup qualification|
|17||4 March 2013||Vientiane, Laos||Mongolia||1–0||W||Balal Arezou 59'||2014 AFC Challenge Cup qualification|
|18||6 March 2013||Vientiane, Laos||Laos||1–1||D||Arash Hatifie 58'||2014 AFC Challenge Cup qualification|
|19||4 June 2013||Qorqan Tepa, Tajikistan||Tajikistan||2-3||L||International Friendly|
FIFA World Cup record
|Asian Qualification Records|
|1930 to 2002||Did not enter|
|2006 to 2014||Did not qualify|
Olympic Games record
- 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.
|Olympic Games record|
|1900 to 1940||Did not enter|
|1952 to 1956||Did not enter|
|1960||Did not qualify|
|1964 to 2004||Did not enter|
|2008||Did not qualify|
|Total||Best: Round 1||1||0||0||1||0||6|
AFC Asian Cup record
|1956 to 1972||Withdrew|
|1976 to 1984||Did not qualify|
|1988 to 2000||Did not enter|
|2004||Did not qualify|
|2007||Did not enter|
|2011||Did not qualify|
Asian Games record
|1958 to 1998||Did not enter|
|2006||Did not enter|
- From the 2002 Asian Games Campaign onwards, the U-23 team replaced the full team in the tournament.