Winning hearts and minds is not a child’s play. It is even more difficult when one represents a country which is known for war and violence engineered and played by foreigners. Lack of resources and opportunities has made this journey even harder. However, the Afghan men’s national cricket team is defying the odds to win hearts of fans. Even those who have no or little interest in cricket as a sport are fascinated by the Afghan team. They won hearts of millions of people on Sunday when they stunned West Indies by winning the match in Mohali, India. Although, the Afghan team has lost three matches but it performed well. In other words, the team’s performance exceeded the expectations.
The ICC Twenty-20 world cup was not just a test for Afghan cricket team to prove that it is doing better than many resourceful countries. Actually, it was a mission and campaign to show real image of Afghan people to the world—the image that they love sports, arts and science. Afghan people have no room for violence and extremism. The real picture has been distorted in the past thirty-six years. This picture which is used by warmongers in propaganda campaigns had put the nation in trouble, though, reality is different and pleasing. Today’s win is the real image. Beating a powerful team despite having meager resources and little experience may be a miracle for many, but not for Afghans because they had already proved their mettle in the sports. Soccer and taekwondo are no exception. Afghan sportswomen are not behind male athletes in this race of restoring the lost true image. They are also part of the glorious contemporary history of Afghanistan. Without their participation in sports, progress will remain a dream. They deserve appreciation and support. They should be supported to revive the golden past.
At the same time, dwellers of the global village should read the real story. Afghans are victims of the foreign imposed war and extremism. They are paying the price in the war that had been engineered by powerful international players. Afghans need peace and stability to stand on their own feet and become a donor nation. It is possible given that the international community supports Afghanistan. Besides guiding the Afghan peace process to success, the allies shall promote sports in the country by building stadiums and gymnasium. The multinational corporations shall sponsor the Afghan cricket team. Likewise, the government should address problems of the sportsmen and women to promote sports in the country. Allocation of sufficient budget and building stadiums will be the important step in this direction.