Thursday, May 30, 2024

From Mixed Martial Art to a Rugby star, story of Zikrullah Yaqubi

Immigration News

Khaama Press
Khaama Press
Khaama Press is a Kabul-based independent and non-political news organization established in 2010.


By Asad Ziar

Zikrullah Yaqubi is the Afghan rugby and Wosho – Mixed Martial Art (MMA) star who has remained a Wosho champion for the past 8 consecutive years.

The 24-year-old Yaqubi and participated in many free fights and kickboxing competitions but none of his sporting success has brought him the fame he has found since he joined rugby and scored the first ever official try for Afghanistan against UAE Sheen on 27th of April 2012 in Dubai, UAE.

Yaqubi, a martial player by profession is known to all his friends and colleagues “The guy with no tiredness “and he is the fastest Afghan Rugby Player too.  Sometimes the players are afraid to tackle him during matches because he is strong enough and we have not seen him injured till date while all those who tackled him always get hurts,” said Mustafa Sadat, Afghan National Squad Captain.

Yaqubi explained rugby as the only sport which matches his desire. “When I was very young I love to watch Buzkashi which is a cross between rugby and polo where horsemen use goat carcass as ball and never thought that we will have an alternative sport for Buzkashi. I knew that there is a sport called rugby in the world and sometimes I witnessed the International Security Assistance Force ( ISAF) & NATO soldiers playing rugby at their camps and forward operating bases but it was not possible for me to join them and when the sport of rugby came out of the cage and saw that few of the Afghans are playing rugby in a public ground I just ran and asked for the organizers that I want to join, the Afghan rugby players were playing and practicing rugby to be prepared for their upcoming tournament in December 2011 when I first meet the founding member Asad Ziar who is the main force behind the push for rugby in Afghanistan he welcomed me and was happy to explained each and every point about rugby to me in detail,” he said.

TheFirst from leftYaqubi further added, “After I started early morning practices and training with other rugby players, I did not inform my parents and when after a week they asked me where are you going that early in the morning now a days ? I had to describe rugby to them since they did not know about rugby anything I had to start saying that it is a sport just like football but it is played with hands and the ball is shaped like melon and have to be strong, physically fit and fast to overcome the opponents explained Yaqubi.

Then they asked me about chances of injuries and hurts I told them there are rare chances of injuries in this game and as I remained healthy while playing Osho for 13 years so that I will be fine playing rugby too and to be honest I could not make them understand but when I was leaving Afghanistan to participate in the first ever international competition my father was against my decision and had to bring some of my friends to help me in making my father agree and get his consent, finally I managed to get his consent and went to UAE for the match and it was my first time to see such lovely rugby pitch in my life , very clean, neat and beautiful not like the one we have in Afghanistan with holes, debris, stones etc and when the match started in the 2nd minutes of the match I scored the first try but was hearing the name of another of my friends name from the laud speakers, the announcers made a mistake but still I was more than happy since everyone in Afghanistan can understand from the video which was captured by some news agencies.

It was my first time that I saw more than many people clapping for me and I was thinking with my own that I had to find this video from the event and show it to my father who was not letting me to take part and I did the same with the help of Afghanistan Rugby Federation and they gave me the video from the event and I took it home and played it in front of my parents, brothers and relatives they all got so happy but really from the start till then end I had to explain each and every point to them so that they understand and feel my efforts. After my father watched the video of the event he never asked me or stopped me from playing rugby instead he now sometimes asked me how rugby is developing in Afghanistan.”

“I love to play and participate in group sports as compare to sports with single player in fields and that is the only reason I choose to join rugby and I will be happy to see rugby as the most playing sport in Afghanistan, I will do my part to spread the message of peace through rugby and will encourage other Afghans to keep themselves busy in sports, since sport is a powerful tool against war, drug addiction and other bad deeds,” Yaqubi added.

first from rightAccording to Yaqubi, now a days Buzkashi is not played in all the provinces and by many people because it is not possible for all those who wants to play Buzkashi to buy a horse for themselves and that is the reason the game is not developing and does not have any regional tournaments too.

He joined rugby three years ago when Afghanistan’s first every squad was formed and many in the country were already familiar with Yaqubi’s Osho career , he holds many trophies and national titles and he quickly became the most visible Afghan rugby player in the country. Yaqubi’s popularity among Afghans has risen surprisingly when he successes to score the first try for Afghanistan an international competition, he is expected to be part of the Afghan National Rugby squad for the West Asia Rugby 7s tournament which is going to take place from 31st of October till 2nd of November 2014 in United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Last year Afghanistan got the runner up shield in the tournament beating UAE & Lebanon with remarkable differences in scores, this year Afghanistan is preparing itself for the victory. Yaqubi who is now a days busy with the national squad is responsible for physical training of the players , since he is the most fit and strong player and as he is always fresh and strong we are sure he will do whatever possible to make the team ready for the victory physically said Mohammad Mansoor Majid , President , Afghanistan Rugby Federation ( ARF).

Yaqubi who is in the 3rd year of Kabul University for his undergraduate law program, he is also a full time employee in a government department, since he has to support his  family and therefore has to keep his job too that is the reason sometimes we had to mess his presence in competitions . He is very keen to see the sport of rugby developed in Afghanistan so that he does not have to explain the rugby ball as melon shape but just to say rugby ball instead.

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