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Achievements of Afghanistan cricket players could be inspirational for the country's youth

Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) launched National 20 Overs Tournament on the 26th of August at the Afghanistan International Cricket Ground. The match was partly sponsored by UNFPA, where UNFPA launched a campaign for empowering youth in the Afghanistan. According to the Central Statistics Organization of Afghanistan 63% of Afghan population is below the age of 25. Given this fact, during the tournament that lasted for 7 days UNFPA sent the message that this generation of the Afghan population should be invested on today, for a developed Afghanistan tomorrow.

"The success of the Afghan Cricket Team is one of the many examples that show to the Afghan people themselves, the Afghan government and the international community that Afghan young men and women have great potential and with the right opportunity, safety and stability, they are able to maximize their potential", said Dr. Annette Sachs Robertson, UNFPA Representative.

Afghanistan International Cricket team ranked 108 among the international cricket teams in the world in 2001. In 2012 the team ranked 60 and in 2014, they ranked 11, leaving behind nations as Ireland that has around 50 plus years of cricket playing history. Afghanistan International Cricket team qualified for the 2015 World Cup, which means for the first time in the history of the country Afghanistan will participate in the cricket world cup among nations that have many years of experience in the arena.

"The Afghanistan Cricket Board is very happy to work with the United Nations Population Fund for youth empowerment. In addition to the many achievements that the Afghan cricket board and the players have had, our partnership with UNFPA is and will be among our greatest achievements, said Dr. Noor Muhammad Murad, CEO of ACB. "I see a brighter and more successful future for the cricket board of Afghanistan. Similarly, I hope our partnership with UNFPA will grow, through which we will serve the Afghan people together and with greater campaigns".

UNFPA aimed to raise awareness among the youth and the supporters of youth in Afghanistan together with the Afghanistan Cricket Board that has inspired the Afghan Nation and the international community. To affirm to the Afghan nation, the Afghan government and the international community that with investing in the Afghan youth examples of the Afghanistan Cricket will bloom in all aspects of life in Afghanistan, be it political, social or economic.  On the other hand Afghan youth should know that they are a powerful force who can make a difference and investment in them will guarantee a developed, free of violence and stable Afghanistan.

"Unfortunately, I know that there are young boys and girls that don't go to school and I also know that in our country women don't enjoy their basic rights to education and they experience violence in the family. My message to the Afghan people is that they should learn from the success of the cricket in Afghanistan and encourage their children to go to school and to engage in sports. Let girls study and enjoy their rights. I am sure our country will be a much better place", said Muhebullah Oryakhel, 22. Muhebullah is a high school graduate and wants to develop career in cricket.

The National Cricket Tournament was streamed live via 1TV, one of the most prominent TV networks in the country and everyday an average of 7000 people followed the matches closely at the Kabul International Cricket Ground and some 9 million people watched the match on TV.