After a ten year hiatus, international football returns to Afghanistan. On 20 August, 2013, history will be made as the national teams of Afghanistan and Pakistan, each consisting of twenty players and five coaching/physio staff, will play a friendly match in Kabul at the Afghan Football Federation (AFF) stadium at 4pm, just two days prior to the start of the Roshan Afghan Premier League’s (RAPL) 2013 tournament. The return match in Pakistan is currently scheduled for December 2013 in Lahore. The Friendship Match Presented by Roshan is only the second match for the Afghan national team ever to be played against another national team inside Afghanistan. In 2003, the Afghan national team hosted the Turkmenistan national team at a match in Kabul. Prior to 1976, the Afghan national team played some matches against clubs from neighbouring Central Asian countries, but not against another national team.
Presiding over the occasion, Chairman of the AFF, H.E. Karamudeen Karim said, “I am confident that the first international game after more than three decades will open the door for other countries to visit Afghanistan and to play this fantastic game. The Afghanistan vs Pakistan Friendship Match will also give positive signals of normalcy in Afghanistan. I am thankful that the Pakistan Football Federation has accepted our invitation”, he added.
Speaking on behalf of the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF), General Secretary Lt. Colonel Ahmad Yar Khan Lodhi, commented, “The Pakistan Football Federation is very pleased to play this home and away series with Afghanistan. Playing this first match in Kabul will go a long way in football history, and will help in the mutual development and prosperity for both countries.”
The Friendship Match Presented by Roshan will be televised live on TOLO TV and Lemar TV, in Dari and Pashto, and will be radio broadcasted on Arman FM and Arakozia FM, also in both languages. In addition, this historic match will be streamed live to a global audience on the RAPL’s YouTube channel, www.youtube.com/afghanpremierleague.
The match is a fantastic opportunity to build confidence and ties between two countries that share so many similarities, yet have struggled to find common ground on key issues. It will effectively aid in easing tensions between the countries as well as bringing the people closer together on a personal level.
Roshan, Afghanistan’s leading telecommunications provider, is the sponsor of this landmark event. When asked about the significance of The Friendship Match Presented by Roshan, Altaf Ladak, Chief Operating Officer of Roshan said, “As a company that connects Afghans of all backgrounds with each other and to the world, Roshan believes that the shared love of football can help transcend barriers and unite fans of both countries. With our partners, we are proud to be continuing our support of football in Afghanistan and hope this match is the first of many between the two teams.”
About the Afghan Football Federation (AFF)
The AFF is the controlling body for the sport in the country, and was admitted to FIFA in 1948. The Afghanistan Football Federation is a Non-Governmental non-profit Association which began serving football activities for Afghanistan in 1922. The federation continues to organize all types of football (Soccer, Futsal, Beach Soccer, Mini Soccer, Street Soccer, etc) within Afghanistan through various tournaments, leagues, championships and courses.
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Roshan (Telecom Development Company Afghanistan Ltd) is Afghanistan's leading total communications provider with nearly six million active subscribers and a network that covers over 230 cities and towns in all of the country's 34 provinces.
Roshan is a true Afghanistan success story, serving as a catalyst for economic growth and actively contributing to the country’s long-term development. Since its inception nine years ago, Roshan has invested over $550 million in Afghanistan and is the country’s single largest investor and taxpayer, contributing approximately five percent of the Afghan government's overall domestic revenue. Roshan directly employs more than 1,200 people, 20 percent of whom are women, and provides indirect employment to more than 30,000 people.
Roshan is deeply committed to Afghanistan’s reconstruction and development. The Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED), part of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), is a major shareholder of Roshan and promotes private initiatives and building economically sound enterprises in the developing world. Also owned in part by Monaco Telecom International (MTI) and TeliaSonera, Roshan brings international expertise to the country and is committed to the highest standards of network quality and coverage for the people of Afghanistan.
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