Afghanistan national football team

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This article is about Afghanistan's national football team. For the women's team, see Afghanistan women's national football team.
Nickname(s) The Lions of Khorasan (شیران خراسان)
Association Afghanistan Football Federation (AFF)
Sub-confederation CAFF (Central Asia)
Confederation AFC (Asia)
Head coach Slaven Skeledzic
Asst coach Ali Askar Lali
Captain Zohib Islam Amiri
Most caps Zohib Islam Amiri (43)
Top scorer Balal Arezou (9)
Home stadium Ghazi Stadium and Afghanistan Football Federation Stadium
FIFA ranking 137 Increase 7 (12 March 2015)[1]
Highest FIFA ranking 122 (April 2014)
Lowest FIFA ranking 204 (January 2003)
Elo ranking 179 Steady (12 March 2015)
Highest Elo ranking 179 (11 September 2013)
Lowest Elo ranking 207 (17 November 2010)
First colours
Second colours
First international
non-FIFA International
Afghanistan Afghanistan 1–3 British India India
(Kabul, Afghanistan; 23 August 1941[2])
FIFA International
Afghanistan Afghanistan 0–6  Luxembourg
(London, England; 26 July 1948)
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 (Dari: تیم ملی فوتبال افغانستان) popularly known as the "The Lions of Khorasan" [3][4][5] is the national football team of Afghanistan and is controlled by the Afghanistan Football Federation. Founded in 1922, and played their first non-FIFA international game against the British India in Kabul, 1941. Afghanistan then 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. Their achievements have included two consecutive appearances in the final of the SAFF Championship. They came Runners-up in the 2011 edition against India, and then having redemption in beating their same opponents in the 2013 SAFF Championship Final, 2-0.


Early History

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. 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 non-FIFA international match was played against British India on 23 August 1941, which Afghanistan lost the game, 1–3 at Ghazi Stadium in Kabul. Afghanistan's only appearance and first FIFA international match was at the Olympic Games football tournament in the 1948 Summer Olympic Games when they played Luxembourg on 26 July 1948 and lost 6–0. Prior to 2002, Afghanistan was last seen on the international stage during 1984 AFC Asian Cup qualification, with its last match lost 6-1 against Jordan on September 20, 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 the Taliban regime.


Afghanistan national football team (in red uniform)

Following the demise of the Taliban regime, the Afghan national team eventually returned to the international arena in 2002, when they played South Korea in the Asian Games, losing 2–0.[7] 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,[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. 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.


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 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, 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 beat Bhutan 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 beat Bhutan 5–0 in 2012 AFC Challenge Cup Qualification. 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.

On 20 August 2013 before the 2013 SAFF Championship 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]

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, Azadzoy 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 Azadzoy 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.

Sharityar in red shirt fighting against the ball with Sunil Chhetri during the 2011 SAFF Championship in India.


In 2014, the Afghan football team participated in four friendly game matches in the first half of the year against Kyrgyzstan twice, Tajikistan and Kuwait. In the 2014 AFC Challenge Cup Afghanistan did well to reach the Semi-final, losing to the eventual champions Palestine, 2-0. They finished their campaign in fourth spot, the countries highest finishing place in the short term the cup has existed, losing to Maldives on a penalty shoot out: (7-8) after a 1-1 draw for third spot of the competition. On 10 June 2014 Afghanistan Football Federation moved from South Asian Football Federation SAFF to the CAFF. 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 9 February 2015 it was confirmed that the AFF signed a new coach for the national team. German-Bosnian trainer Slaven Skeledzic signed a 1 year contract with the AFF. The new trainer had earlier coached under 19 and 17 teams in Germany. Skeledzic, 43 years old, has had a lot of experience as a football coach. He played football for many years in Germany and coached a few youth teams in the Bundesliga.[12]


In 2011 the Afghanistan Football Federation had signed a 4-year contract, with Danish sports brand Hummel, to provide both the Men's and the Women's National Team for clothes and shoes from 2011 till 2015. On 6 March 2015 the Afghan Football Federation signed a new 4-year contract with Hummel till 2019.

Period Kit provider
2011–present Denmark Hummel

Home Stadium

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.[13] 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.[14]

Recent results and fixtures

The following are Afghanistan's results and fixtures as of: 6 February 2015

Date Opponent Result Score* Venue Competition
6 Feb 2015  Pakistan 2–1 (L) Sharifi (50') Pakistan Punjab Football Stadium, Lahore, Pakistan International Friendly
31 Mar 2015  Kyrgyzstan Kyrgyzstan Suyumbayev Stadion, Osh, Kyrgyzstan International Friendly
22 Apr 2015  Bahrain International Friendly
6 May 2015  Luxembourg International Friendly
11 June 2015 TBD 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification and 2019 AFC Asian Cup qualification
16 June 2015 TBD 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification and 2019 AFC Asian Cup qualification
3 Sep 2015 TBD 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification and 2019 AFC Asian Cup qualification
8 Sep 2015 TBD 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification and 2019 AFC Asian Cup qualification
8 Oct 2015 TBD 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification and 2019 AFC Asian Cup qualification
13 Oct 2015 TBD 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification and 2019 AFC Asian Cup qualification
12 Nov 2015 TBD 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification and 2019 AFC Asian Cup qualification
17 Nov 2015 TBD 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification and 2019 AFC Asian Cup qualification
24 Mar 2016 TBD 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification and 2019 AFC Asian Cup qualification
29 Mar 2016 TBD 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification and 2019 AFC Asian Cup qualification
TBA TBD 2015 SAFF Championship
TBA TBD 2015 SAFF Championship
TBA TBD 2015 SAFF Championship

* Afghanistan score always listed first

      Win       Draw       Loss


Current Technical Staff

Position Name
Head coach Bosnia and HerzegovinaGermanySlaven Skeledzic
Assistant coach Afghanistan Ali Askar Lali
President Afghanistan Karim Keramuddin
General Secretary Afghanistan Sayed Alireza Aghazada
Media Manager Afghanistan Sayed Ali Kazemi
Team Doctor Afghanistan Shakib Safi
Physiotherapist Germany Hendrik Wolf

Current Squad

  • Opposition: Upcoming match against KyrgyzstanKyrgyzstan
  • Caps and goals correct as of: 26 March 2015
0#0 Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club
1 1GK Hamidullah Yosufzai (1981-12-02) 2 December 1981 (age 33) 14 0 Afghanistan Shaheen Asmayee F.C.
20 1GK Fardeen Kohistani (1994-09-06) 6 September 1994 (age 20) 0 0 Afghanistan Shaheen Asmayee F.C.
21 1GK Amanullah Toofan (1994-10-19) 19 October 1994 (age 20) 0 0 Afghanistan De Maiwand Atalan F.C.
2 2DF Abassin Alikhil (1991-04-19) 19 April 1991 (age 23) 9 0 Germany Viktoria Aschaffenburg
3 2DF Zohib Islam Amiri (1987-05-02) 2 May 1987 (age 27) 43 5 India Dempo S.C.
4 2DF Mujtaba Faiz (1989-11-21) 21 November 1989 (age 25) 8 0 Afghanistan Shaheen Asmayee F.C.
5 2DF Zamir Daudi (1987-08-05) 5 August 1987 (age 27) 4 0 Germany Viktoria Aschaffenburg
13 2DF Sabahoon Qaume (1992-02-11) 11 February 1992 (age 23) 0 0 Denmark Kolding IF
14 2DF Farzad Ataie (1991-12-30) 30 December 1991 (age 23) 8 0 Afghanistan Toofaan Harirod F.C.
15 2DF Hassan Amin (1991-10-12) 12 October 1991 (age 23) 3 0 Germany 1.FC Saarbrücken
16 2DF Djelaludin Sharityar (1983-03-15) 15 March 1983 (age 32) 22 1 unattached
25 2DF Mustafa Hadid (1988-08-25) 25 August 1988 (age 26) 14 2 Germany Altona 93
6 3MF Mohammad Rafi Barekzay (1990-06-06) 6 June 1990 (age 24) 8 1 Afghanistan Toofaan Harirod F.C.
7 3MF Mustafa Azadzoy (1992-07-24) 24 July 1992 (age 22) 10 2 Germany TB Uphusen
8 3MF Faysal Shayesteh (1991-06-21) 21 June 1991 (age 23) 6 2 Thailand Songkhla United F.C.
10 3MF Mustafa Zazai (1993-05-09) 9 May 1993 (age 21) 2 0 Germany FC St. Pauli II
17 3MF Anoush Dastgir (1989-11-27) 27 November 1989 (age 25) 0 0 Netherlands sc N.E.C.
18 3MF Ahmad Hatifi (1986-03-13) 13 March 1986 (age 29) 12 1 unattached
19 3MF Esmat Shanwary (1993-10-03) 3 October 1993 (age 21) 0 0 Netherlands Achilles '29
22 3MF Taher Kanischka (1991-04-04) 4 April 1991 (age 23) 0 0 Germany SC Kapellen-Erft
23 3MF Milad Intezar (1992-11-04) 4 November 1992 (age 22) 0 0 Netherlands FC Lienden
9 4FW Balal Arezou (1988-12-28) 28 December 1988 (age 26) 20 9 Norway Moss FK
11 4FW Sandjar Ahmadi (1992-02-10) 10 February 1992 (age 23) 18 8 Germany SC Vier- und Marschlande
12 4FW Hashmatullah Barakzai (1987-08-26) 26 August 1987 (age 27) 17 2 Afghanistan Shaheen Asmayee F.C.
24 4FW Amredin Sharifi (1992-03-23) 23 March 1992 (age 23) 4 1 Afghanistan Shaheen Asmayee F.C.

Recent Call Ups

The following players have been called up for Afghanistan over the past 12 months.

Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club Latest call-up
GK Mansur Faqiryar (1986-01-03) 3 January 1986 (age 29) 17 0 unattached Maldives, 2014
GK Kawash Haidari (1992-03-10) 10 March 1992 (age 23) 1 0 Afghanistan De Spin Ghar Bazan F.C. Pakistan, 2015
GK Mahbobullah Kalakhan (1994-08-03) 3 August 1994 (age 20) 0 0 Afghanistan Mawjhai Amu F.C. Pakistan, 2015
DF Faisal Sakhizada (1990-06-15) 15 June 1990 (age 24) 17 0 Australia Dandenong Thunder SC Pakistan, 2015
DF Mohammad Hashimi (1986-03-05) 5 March 1986 (age 29) 1 0 Afghanistan Shaheen Asmayee F.C. Pakistan, 2015
DF Ahmad Farshad (1994-05-03) 3 May 1994 (age 20) 1 0 Afghanistan De Spin Ghar Bazan F.C. Pakistan, 2015
DF Mohammad Afshar (1992-10-23) 23 October 1992 (age 22) 1 0 Afghanistan Oqaban Hindukush F.C. Pakistan, 2015
DF Sayed Naweed (1989-07-21) 21 July 1989 (age 25) 0 0 Afghanistan Toofaan Harirod F.C. Pakistan, 2015
DF Masood Hashimi (1994-03-01) 1 March 1994 (age 21) 0 0 Afghanistan De Spin Ghar Bazan F.C. Pakistan, 2015
MF Mohammad Mashriqi (1987-07-07) 7 July 1987 (age 27) 22 1 unattached Maldives, 2014
MF Maroof Mohammadi (1991-07-02) 2 July 1991 (age 23) 6 1 Afghanistan Toofaan Harirod F.C. Pakistan, 2015
MF Hamid Sadid (1989-05-24) 24 May 1989 (age 25) 1 0 Sweden FK Bosna 92 Örebro Tajikistan, 2014
MF Sayed Ali Naser (1990-10-25) 25 October 1990 (age 24) 1 0 Afghanistan De Spin Ghar Bazan F.C. Pakistan, 2015
MF Ramez Noorzai (1992-08-18) 18 August 1992 (age 22) 1 0 Afghanistan Toofaan Harirod F.C. Pakistan, 2015
MF Fardin Hakimi (1992-08-18) 18 August 1992 (age 22) 1 0 Afghanistan Oqaban Hindukush F.C. Pakistan, 2015
MF Mohammad Ahmadi (1994-08-10) 10 August 1994 (age 20) 0 0 Afghanistan Oqaban Hindukush F.C. Pakistan, 2015
MF Mohammad Akbari (1990-08-02) 2 August 1990 (age 24) 0 0 Afghanistan Oqaban Hindukush F.C. Pakistan, 2015
MF Mustafa Rezai (1989-08-18) 18 August 1989 (age 25) 0 0 Afghanistan Simorgh Alborz F.C. Pakistan, 2015
FW Hamidullah Karimi (1993-02-05) 5 February 1993 (age 22) 2 1 Afghanistan Toofaan Harirod F.C. Maldives, 2014
FW Zainuddin Sharifi (1993-05-22) 22 May 1993 (age 21) 1 0 Afghanistan Shaheen Asmayee F.C. Pakistan, 2015
FW Parwiz Kazimi (1990-08-24) 24 August 1990 (age 24) 1 0 Afghanistan Oqaban Hindukush F.C. Pakistan, 2015
FW Mohammad Rezai (1994-08-31) 31 August 1994 (age 20) 0 0 Afghanistan Oqaban Hindukush F.C. Pakistan, 2015
FW Mustafa Afshar (1989-07-07) 7 July 1989 (age 25) 0 0 Afghanistan Shaheen Asmayee F.C. Pakistan, 2015



Winners (1): 2013


Runners-up (1): 2011
Runners-up (1): 2010

Fourth Place

Fourth Place (1): 2014
Fourth Place (1): 1951


Competition Records

FIFA World Cup Records

World Cup World Cup qualifications
Hosts/Year Result GP W D L GS GA Hosts/Year Round GP W D L GS GA
1930 to 2002 Did not enter - - - - - - 1930 to 2002 Did not enter - - - - - -
Germany 2006 Did not qualify - - - - - - Germany 2006 Round 1 2 0 0 2 0 13
South Africa 2010 Did not qualify - - - - - - South Africa 2010 Round 1 2 0 0 2 1 5
Brazil 2014 Did not qualify - - - - - - Brazil 2014 Round 1 2 0 0 2 1 3
Russia 2018 To be determined - - - - - - Russia 2018 Round 2 - - - - - -
Total: 0/32 Did not qualify 0 0 0 0 0 0 Total Best: Round 2 6 0 0 6 2 21

AFC Asian Cup Records