FIFA helps Afghanistan to return to the international stage

Zürich, 18 September 2002 - The Afghanistan national team is on the verge of playing its first competitive match since 1984. FIFA recently donated USD 40,000 to the Afghanistan Football Federation to ensure that the national team could take its place at the Asian Games in Busan (Korea Republic) from 27 September to 13 October. This money will help the 24-head delegation to show that football can be reborn in their country.

Afghanistan were invited to participate in the wake of the withdrawal of Mongolia and will contest Group E, facing Iran on 28 September, Qatar on 1 October and Lebanon on 5 October. But significantly, these matches will also herald their return to the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking. Until now, Afghanistan were the only FIFA member to be excluded from the ranking on account of the national team being inactive.

Founded in 1933 and affiliated to FIFA since 1948, the Afghanistan Football Federation was also one of the founding members of the AFC (Asian Football Confederation). The national team contested its first international match in 1941 and last graced the international arena in September 1984 during the qualifiers for the Asian Nations Cup, when they played Qatar, Jordan, PR China and Hong Kong. But now it is time for the team to be reborn in Busan.


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FIFA Communications Division
Zürich, 18 September 2002