Afghanistan created history by winning the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Championship title at the Dasharath Stadium in Kathmandu on Wednesday. They defeated India 2-0 in the final to lift their first international football trophy.
(Representational Picture): Players compete during a friendly soccer match between Afghanistan and Pakistan in Kabul
The war-torn country, ranked 139th in the world, outplayed six-time winners - India (ranked 145th in the world) on Wednesday. It was a sweet revenge for Afghanistan after a humiliating 4-0 loss to India in 2011 final.
Mustafa Azadzoy put the team ahead in the first half and Sanjar Ahamadi doubled the score in the second half to put Afghanistan in an unassailable position to win the title. The defending champions tried to bounce back and made a few good attempts, but they failed to penetrate into Afghan's defence.
Celebrations has erupted in Kabul after the final whistle.
Ali Bin Hussein, the Prince of Jordan who is a United Nations Special Representative for Afghanistan, joined the celebrations by congratulating the national team and expressing his happiness on the win.
"Heartfelt congratulations to my friends and colleagues in Afghanistan on winning the South Asian Football Federation's Championship and scoring their first international football title," GoalNepal quoted the monarch as saying. "The progress of Afghan football is an inspiration to us all."
Mansur Fagiryar, the goalkeeper of the Afghan side, turned emotional after the historic win and was seen wearing a T-shirt that wished peace for Afghanistan, Nepal, Palestine and Syria.
"This is an emotional moment for he," he told GoalNepal. "I wore this t-shirt to pay my respect to my country, Nepal, Palestine and Syria. We want peace everywhere. I like Nepal a lot. Football is a medium that can bring happiness for the people. It can bond people and it strengthens patriotism."
"I wish good luck for Nepal for the their maiden title. We have done it and we are very happy. I can't express my words," he added.
Football was restricted only to Afghanistan during the Taliban rule between 1996 and 2001. So winning the tournament, which features India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Maldives, Afghanistan and Nepal, came as a breakthrough for the country.
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