Shahzada Masoud: Growing The Cricket Tribe

What exactly is your work in the Afghan government?
I am an Advisor to President Hamid Karzai on tribal affairs and my work takes me up and down the country as I seek to understand the opinions of our citizens and communicate between the President and the tribal leaders.

Is it dangerous work?
I go with God.

When you travel the country, are all the tribes aware of the game?
Within the 32 provinces and the numerous districts, I found that around 85% of people are not only aware of cricket but they also play the game. We have cricket associations in twenty-two provinces and they are developing day by day. On my visits there were a lot of cricketers asking me for cricketing equipment.

Is the Sports Minister involved in cricket as well?
Yes, his name is Mohammad Anwar and he is the President of the National Olympic Sports Committee as well as the Minister for Youth. He is a very dear friend and a keen supporter of cricket.

With ACC Development Officer Iqbal Sikander

What is your vision for Afghan cricket in the future?
Afghanistan sport has really vanished over the past 30 years due to the wars that took place. Now the reconstruction has begun but the basic needs like roads, hospitals, schools obviously need to come first for our country’s people. As far as sport is concerned, I can see a very bright future for cricket in Afghanistan and maybe in the next ten years we will be able to have at least five good grounds. But the ultimate goal over time would be to play against Test-playing nations and maybe even qualify for the 2011 World Cup. The MCC President Robin Marlar says we already have two cricketers who are good enough to play at the highest level. Cricket is a great thing to help rebuild our country and make it famous in the world.

What are the three things Afghanistan needs to move forward?
First and foremost, we need to have more cricket grounds. The next step is to be to be more politically and economically stable in order to achieve greatness in any field. And lastly, we would like to beat our neighboring nations in cricket as this would provide an unimaginable boost for the game.

At the start of the 2006-2007 domestic championships in Kabul, November 2006

Related stories:
Raees Ahmadzai: Leading Afghan Cricket
Cricket Warrior

Filed November 22 2006