News - Sports
While the Roshan-Afghan Premier League (RAPL) is rapidly gaining popularity among the Afghans, lack of financial support has held back the players of the eight RAPL teams from preparing in the right manner.
Ironically, among the teams facing this challenge is the champion team of the RAPL 2012, Toofan-e-Harirod, which is not only under performance pressure, but is also fighting against lack of adequate resources. The team was lauded last year for its extraordinary performance in Herat province.
RAPL has changed the life of many players. Hamidullah Karimi is one of those RAPL players who is playing in the Toofan-e-Harirod football team. Karimi lives in a predominantly agricultural area of Herat province, and apart from playing he also supports his father in farming.
"Before I came to play in RAPL, I was not so popular and I was not allowed to play football in some of the teams," Karimi told TOLOnews.
Karimi is eyeing for his team to come out victorious for the second consecutive time in the upcoming RAPL matches. "Hopefully we'll bring the championship trophy to Herat province once again," said Karimi with a twinkle in his eyes.
Meanwhile, he demanded for better monetary returns in relation to the amount of hard work they put in. "We are working hard to come out as winners in the championship. Keeping in view the amount of hard work we put in, obviously we should have a good income so that we can take care of our family needs," Karimi sighed.
Despite it being the month of Ramadan, the Toofan-e- Harirod football team has been carrying out its intensive training sessions from the past two months in Herat province.
While this team struggles for funds, another team "Shaheen Asmayee" has been assured a helping hand by Kabul's Mayor, Younas Nawandesh.
Besides, in an effort to boost the confidence of the participating teams, the Afghanistan Football Federation (AFF),on Wednesday, announced that the government, private institutions and several business establishments have agreed to provide support to the teams. This clearly indicates that several sections of the Afghan society have started feeling the importance of professional football in the country.
The "Shaheen Asmayee" football team came into existence after the eight teams consisting of at least 80 players from different clubs played against each other. Later, the selection board selected 26 players to form the team.
"I strongly support the Shaheen Asmayee football club. I will try to convince the private sector and businessmen to sponsor this team," said Nawandesh.
Shaheen Asmayee is presently preparing itself for the RAPL, which is due to begin within three weeks. In this league, the Asmayee team will be supported by Karwan University.
"APL has been very successful; it is one of the highest earning leagues in the region. The current teams that intend to participate in the league are ready to play," said Kiramuddin Kareem, head of the AFF.
The second season of the RAPL is scheduled to begin from August 22. Eight teams representing eight zones of the country will be participating in the event. All matches will be played at the AFF stadium in Kabul.
Official website of the RAPL: http://www.afghanpremierleague.com/