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Pakistani MMA fighters compete in Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: January 23, 2022)

Pakistani athletes took part in a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) competition in Afghanistan’s Khost province on Friday where they faced Afghan MMA fighters in the first such contest since the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) came into power in August last year.

Fourteen Pakistani MMA fighters took part in the contest.

Organizers of the contest meanwhile said the aim of the tournament was to show the world that conditions in the country are safe and that life carries on as normal.

“This competition is between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Fourteen of our fighters are from Pakistan and fourteen from Afghanistan. We have very strong players who have played well. We want to extend this series and make good neighborliness and show it to the world, that Afghanistan is safe so players from other countries will also come,” said Nimatullah Hemat, head of KFN (Khost Fight Night) organization in Khost.

Pakistani athletes were happy to compete in Afghanistan and said they will invite Afghan athletes to Pakistan for similar competitions.

“A very happy people gave me a lot of love. Very good games have been played. We want to invite Afghan players to Pakistan so that they can also compete freely there. Thank you for the love of the people here,” said Bismillah, a Pakistani fighter.

“Good games have been played here, we are happy to have come to Afghanistan. There are some very talented MMA athletes here who have competed very well with us and their talent should be taken into consideration and we want them to come to Pakistan and hold such tournaments there,” said Abdul Rahman, a Pakistani fighter.

Meanwhile, Afghan MMA athletes say the government and businessmen have not helped them, adding that there are talented athletes among them but they cannot go abroad to compete due to financial constraints.

“No attention has been paid to sports in the country, neither businesses nor government pays any attention. We have talented athletes who can play abroad, but they have financial problems and they cannot compete in foreign countries,” said Sher Shah, Afghan MMA fighter.

These martial arts athletes say that if the facilities are provided, they will not only achieve good results in the country, but they will also win awards in the international arena.

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Ireland beat Afghanistan by seven wickets in first T20I match of series

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(Last Updated On: August 10, 2022)

Ireland beat Afghanistan by seven wickets in the first of five matches in the T20 International in Belfast on Tuesday.

George Dockrell hit the winning boundary off the penultimate ball to lift Ireland on to 171 for three after they were set a target of 169.

Afghanistan’s total of 168 for seven had been boosted by 30 runs off the final two overs, with Ibrahim Zadran clubbing 29 not out off 18 balls.

Afghanistan’s top scorer, opener Usman Ghani, struck two sixes and six fours in his 59 off 42 balls.

The two sides will meet again on Thursday at the same Civil Services Cricket Club venue in Stormont for the second time in their five-match series.

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Former international cricket umpire Koertzen dies in car accident

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(Last Updated On: August 9, 2022)

Rudi Koertzen, former international cricket umpire from South Africa, died on Tuesday in a car accident in the country, ESPNcricInfo reported citing his family.

“He went on a golf tournament with some of his friends, and they were expected to come back on Monday, but it seems they decided to play another round of golf,” his son Rudi Koertzen jr said.

Koertzen, 73, was on the International Cricket Council’s elite panel of umpires for eight years and officiated in 331 matches, a record at the time of his retirement in 2010 that has since been surpassed by Pakistan’s Aleem Dar.

“It is a very big loss, foremost for his family and then for South Africa and cricket,” Dar was quoted as saying by ESPNcricInfo.

“I stood in so many games with him. He was not only very good as an umpire but also an excellent colleague, always very cooperative on field and also always willing to help off the field.

“Because of the way he was, he was also well-respected by players.”

Koertzen died while driving from Cape Town to Despatch in Eastern Cape, where he lived with his family, ESPNcricInfo said.

Koertzen still umpired occasionally in amateur cricket in his hometown of Despatch in South Africa’s Eastern Cape.

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ACB names players for five-match T20I series against Ireland

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(Last Updated On: August 1, 2022)

The Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) on Monday announced the 16-member squad for the five T20I matches against Ireland scheduled to take place this month.

All matches will take place in Ireland and start on August 9. The tournament will run through until August 17. 

According to the ACB, the team will leave for Ireland on Friday.

Mohammad Nabi will captain the team. The other players are as follows: Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wicketkeeper), Hazratullah Zazai, Ibrahim Zadran, Najibullah Zadran, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Darwish Rasooli, Karim Jannat, Afsar Zazai, Azmatullah Umarzai, Sharafuddin Ashraf, Rashid Khan, Noor Ahmad, Fazal Haq, Farid Malik, and Naveen ul Haq.

The reserves are Qais Ahmed, Usman Ghani, Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Najat Masoud.

Noorul Haq Malikzi, the ACB’s head of the selection committee said: “We have selected a team for Ireland, which I am sure will have great achievements, because our priority is talent, young players, their performance and strength.”

The Afghanistan Cricket Board says that one of the goals of these competitions is to prepare for the Asia Cup and the World Cup, which will start in September and October respectively.

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