By Assad Ziar
Kabul, Afghanistan: Afghanistan Rugby Federation (ARF) brought together total of sixteen Afghan club teams to play for the ultimate title of the Afghanistan Super 7s champion in a two day tournament in Kabul.
This was the first time that the competition brought sixteen Afghan teams together to play in a rugby event. The Sevens competition, which began on Thursday 02, October 2017 has been the seventh official tournament since the Afghan Rugby Federation (ARF) won affiliation with the Asia Rugby in November 2011.
The president of the federation Mr. Mohammad Mansoor Majid while explaining the aim of the tournament added that the such tournament will enable Afghan rugby players improve and raise the standard of domestic rugby to a good level.
“This time the tournament was held in the far flung district of Kabul called Buthkhak where people were unaware of the sport of rugby and the aim of the federation was to show the sport of rugby to local residents of the area and enjoy the tournament “Said Musa Hashimi, Afghan Rugby Coach / National Squad’s Player.
With the recent activities of rugby of the Afghanistan Rugby Federation, the scope for development of the game is vast. It is a one of the best mode to get the youth off the trouble zone and onto the playing ground, where they can make something out of themselves. A path could be set using Rugby as the vehicle to drive this noble cause into a human welfare and achievement.
Unlike last year this time the even had many sponsors, including Afghan United Bank, Afghanistan Commercial Bank, Defacto , Chcicking Afghanistan, Majid Mall, Clarks Afghanistan and Imperial Exclusive Stores. The final match was played between Afghan Kings sponsored by Defacto and Afghan Eagles sponsored by the Afghan United Bank as a result, Afghan Kings managed to score 15 points against 10 and take the Afghan Super 7s Champion’s title.
With just 1,000 players registered with the ARF, rugby has a long way to go before it can claim to be anywhere near as popular as Buzkashi, soccer or cricket. A small group of onlookers stood on the sidelines on Thursday — many watching rugby for the first time.
The history of rugby in Afghanistan is an intermittent and discontinuous one, often played by invading armies. The game was first introduced into the country from British India and was played by British troops. After the British left Asia, the game died very soon in Afghanistan.
Afghanistan has indigenous sports which bear some resemblance to rugby football. One of these sport game is called Buzkashi, which has been compared to a cross between rugby and polo and uses a dead goat or sheep as the ball. The goal of a player is to grab the carcass of a headless goat or sheep and then get it clear of the other players and pitch it across the goal line or into a target circle or vat. The game has even been referred to as “Sheep Rugby” by the Society for Creative Anachronism since the 1970s.
Safiullah Ahmadi, acting general secretary of the federation “ We believe Afghans, who have faced decades of conflict and hardship, are even better suited to the rough and stumble of the rugby field, which is more similar to the national sport Buzkashi but without the need for horses “
Despite all the issues in Afghanistan the country’s cricket and football already gained a strong following and regional success has offered a rare glimmer of hope in the war-torn country. The Afghanistan Cricket Board and Afghanistan Football Federation are really paving roads for other federations to do more for the development of the sports in general so that Afghans who has been suffering for the last three decades should have some joyful time to watch sports in the grounds or at their homes through their local TV channels.