Afghanistan Soccer Betting Odds
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Nicknames: Team-e Melli, Lions of Khorasan, Stars of Ariana
Head coach: Mohammad Yousef Kargar
Most caps: Zohib Islam Amiri (26), Israfeel Kohistani (26)
Top scorer: Mohammad Saber Rohparwar (7)
Home stadium: Ghazi Stadium
Founded in 1933 and a FIFA affiliate since 1948, the Afghanistan Football Federation was one of the founder members of the Asian Football Confederation in 1954. The national team played its first match in 1941 and was last seen on the international stage in 1984 during the qualifying competition for the Asian Cup. The Russian invasion and later the Taliban regime made it impossible to keep football going at domestic and international level. Many players continued their careers in other countries. Only after the fall of the Taliban in 2002 could the football-mad nation contemplate a bright future once again. The national team made a comeback at interntional level in September 2002, taking part in the Asian Games football tournament in Busan. Although the teams results were disappointing, the players joy at returning to the football fold was very clear to see. And just a few months later at the SAFF Cup in Bangladesh, a significant improvement in standards was already discernible.
In collaboration with FIFA, the AFC, and the German, English and Iranian FAs, the Afghanistan Football Federation has drawn up a long-term development plan for the rebuilding of the football set-up. The Goal Programme has contributed USD 610,000 for the construction of new headquarters for the national association and a new technical centre, the renovation of regional offices and laying a new artificial turf surface at the national stadium. It will be some time before the necessary infrastructure is in place and the administrative and technical organisation has been built. Nonetheless, football is already being played very actively. During its first inspection visit, FIFA presented 500 adidas/Goal footballs to the national association for use in youth football across all regions of the nation.
AFC World Cup Qualifiers
The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) is the governing body of association football in Asia. It has 46 member countries, mostly located on the Asian continent. Due to the disputed boundary of Europe and Asia, transcontinental nations such as Turkey and Russia are instead in the UEFA, whereas countries such as Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia and Israel are entirely in Asia (Central or Western Asia) and still members of the UEFA. On the other hand, Australia, formerly in the OFC, has been in the AFC since 2006, in the same way as the Oceanian nations of Guam and Northern Mariana Islands, which are also members of AFC.