Championship football in Kabul

Updated: 25 February 2007 07:37 IST

Championship football returned to Kabul's main stadium for the first time since the Taliban fled the city almost six weeks ago.

Championship football in Kabul

Kabul:

Championship football returned to Kabul's main stadium for the first time since the Taliban fled the city almost six weeks ago, with players relishing the freedom to wear shorts and spectators relieved there were no executions at half-time."This tells us that we really are free," said fan Jafer Jeffery, 17, as the crowd numbering several thousand cheered the city's two most popular teams, Sabawoon and Miwand, and stirring national music blared from loudspeakers.While other minor matches have been played at the stadium since the Taliban's demise, yesterday marked the first major championship clash.During the five years of Taliban rule, football was permitted at the stadium but players were forced to wear long trousers and full-length beards.Spectators were not allowed to cheer, let alone applaud - religious police armed with whips saw to that - and had to wear headgear.Religious police would also halt the match at specific times and force players and spectators to pray.At half-time, vehicles would arrive and prisoners would be paraded before the crowd before being executed - either shot with a Kalashnikov or hanged from the goalposts.However, yesterday, many spectators were wearing Western-style clothing, few wore headgear, all were applauding and cheering, none stopped to pray, and no one was killed at half-time. (PTI)



Topics : Football
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