Toofan Harirod claim first Afghan title

Toofan (Typhoon) Harirod, representing the western province of Herat and neighbouring districts, landed the first Afghan championship on Friday after seeing off Simorgh Alborz from Mazar-i-Sharif in the north, 2-1.

The Afghan Football Federation's modest venue was packed with some 4,000 fans eager to see the denouement of the first Afghan Premier League (APL) season.

Both finalists, like the other six teams in the competition, only came into existence a few weeks ago, but already fans have nailed their colours firmly to the mast with Herat fans waving blue flags while Mazar followers sported orange.

Alborz defender Hassan Ali said his team should take heart from their showing even in the wake of their defeat.

"Losing is not very important. Today we didn't have a chance," he said. "They were too strong. Yes, my dreams are broken, but my parents must still be happy. Second position is not that bad," the 21-year-old insisted.

Toofan's Hamid Habibi, who dreams of one day playing for his favourite club, Spain's Real Madrid, said for his part: "I feel very happy, excited. As a herati (Herat native) man, I feel that I'm a hero for the whole world and for Afghanistan."