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August 22, 2013

Karzai hosts reception for Pakistan footballers in Kabul


Web Desk
August 22, 2013

KARACHI: Pakistan football players had lunch with president Hamid Karzai at the presidential palace in Kabul on Wednesday, an official of the Afghanistan Football Federation (AFF) said.
“Pakistani team is our own team and their players and officials are our guests. They were warmly welcomed by President Hamid Karzai who held a reception in their honour,” the AFF Director Technical Tahir Raufi told ‘The News’ from Kabul on Wednesday.
Later Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) also confirmed through a press release that Karzai hosted a reception in the honour of the Pakistan team at the Presidential Palace at 11:30 am on Wednesday.
Afghanistan defeated Pakistan 3-0 in a friendly match on Tuesday.
During the meeting with the Pakistan team, Afghan President said that the friendly match had brought people of both the countries closer to one another. Karzai said that the next year away match in Pakistan would further enhance the relationship between the two countries.
Karzai also thanked the PFF and the government of Pakistan for sending their national team to Afghanistan which he said would help Kabul to come out of international isolation in the field of sports.
Raufi said that after the match on Tuesday a grand dinner had also been arranged for the Pakistan team at the Pearl Continental Hotel.
Raufi added that it was a friendly game and its main purpose was to develop the relations between the two countries.
“We were desperately waiting for the arrival of Pakistan team and we are very happy that finally after a decade an international match was held in Kabul. This will open doors for other nations to come and play with us here,” said Tahir.
There had been no international football match in Afghanistan since they hosted Turkmenistan in 2003 at the Ghazi Stadium in Kabul.
The comprehensive victory over Pakistan will boost the morale of the top-ranked team of South Asia ahead of their SAFF Cup campaign which will be held at

Kathmandu from September 1-11.
Pakistan players stayed at the Pearl Continental Hotel in the Afghan capital and they are being provided tight security during their movement keeping in view the fragile security environment in the war-ravaged country.
‘The News’ learnt that four vehicles of different colours were used for the movement of the team in the capital as a security measure.
Pakistan will return from Kabul on Thursday (today) and will leave for Kathmandu on Friday (tomorrow) to participate in the SAFF Cup.
In the SAFF Cup, which is the tenth edition since its inception in 1993, Pakistan have been bracketed in Group A with six-time champions India, Nepal and former champions Bangladesh.
Group B has the last edition’s runners-up Afghanistan, the 2008 edition’s champions Maldives, the 1995 winners Sri Lanka and the bottom-placed side Bhutan.

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