The Afghanistan National Cricket Team begins its quest for a place in World Cup history on a high note, with a rousing send off from Etisalat Afghanistan.
The National Cricket Team, led by team captain Nawroz Khan Mangal, Coach Kabir Khan and other members attended the farewell ceremony hosted by Etisalat at Al Marooj Rotana,Dubai, a day prior to the team’s departure for the T-20 World Cup 2010 starting in West Indies on April, 31st, 2010.
Chairman Etisalat Afghanistan, Mr. Yousaf Al Sayed, CEO Etisalat Afghanistan, Mr. Saeed Al Hamli, CEO Afghanistan Cricket Board Dr. Aimal Shinwari, Chairman of the Afghanistan Business Council, Haji Obaid Ullah graced the occasion with their presence along with other dignitaries from Etisalat Afghanistan Cricket Board and Afghanistan business community.
Dr. Shinwari, CEO Afghanistan Cricket Board while speaking on the occasion said, “Our team is redefining how people perceive Afghanistan. They’re determined to show the world that Afghans are looking towards an aspiring future. We are proud of our team who are rewriting our nation’s sporting history with their commitment and talent on display”.
Dr. Shinwari further stated, “Afghanistan Cricket Board values our association and strong relationship with Etisalat Afghanistan and appreciates their vision to promote Sports and Cricket in the country. We would like to thank Etisalat on holding this farewell ceremony at such a short notice as the team prepares to leave for their quest in West Indies.”
Mr. Saeed Al Hamli, CEO Etisalat Afghanistan while congratulating the efforts of the Cricket team said, “The National Cricket Team playing in the biggest sporting event of the year for the first time ever, means more than winning an international title for Afghanistan. Winning or losing doesn’t matter here. The qualification and participation of our team in such a mega sporting event of the world speaks volumes of the commitment and talent exhibited by this team on their journey to West Indies.”
He further stated, “Etisalat Afghanistan is committed in its resolve in being a major supporter of promoting sports and healthy activities across the country, as a path to lasting peace and national pride. Being a proud partner of the Afghanistan Cricket Board and our National Cricket Team, we believe their inspiring success will create hope and instill national pride.”
The ascent of the Afghan cricket team is arguably one of the most dramatic Cinderella stories in the history of sports. Unlike many of the teams competing in the world arena, the Afghan cricket team, comprising of home grown talent, had the most limited resources, and a very young history in cricket compared to all the other teams competing in this T20 World Cup.
Much of the national team’s success has been attributed to the Afghans’ indomitable spirit. Its rise to the top is regarded miraculous, considering the limited sports facilities in the country, and lack of national cricket tournament to hone the skills of its young talents.
Compared to its neighbors, India and Pakistan, which have both been dominant forces in the cricketing world for a long time, Afghanistan has only become a really competitive force in 2008 after rising rapidly through the World Cricket League, starting in Division Five in May. The following year, the Afghan cricket team shocked the world by defeating Namibia to secure a top-six finish in the International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup Qualifiers. The team now enjoys the ODI status for the next four years.
The team, which was also crowned 2010 Asian Cricket Council Champions, defeated Ireland to win a spot in the T20 World Cup 2010 in West Indies. The team will be up against the formidable Indian team in its World Cup debut.