Founded in 1933 and affiliated to FIFA since 1948, the Afghanistan Football Federation and the national team lay dormant for many years. In fact, the side did not play a competitive international match from 1984 until 2002, when they competed at the Asian Games in Busan, Korea. The results were not positive - they lost 10-0 to Iran, 11-0 against Qatar and 11-0 to Lebanon - but with international assistance and the help of FIFA's Goal Programme, Afghanis will again be able to watch their national team this time as they try to reach the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™.
Of course, that goal is a long way off, but the side did record its first victory in almost 20 years in March 2003 when they beat Kyrgyzstan 2-1 in an Asian Cup qualifying match. Sayeed Tahir Shah and Farid Azami were the scorers. Their results in the eight-nation South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Cup were also respectable - losing to Sri Lanka and Pakistan 1-0 and India 4-0.
Unfortunately, the Afghanis were unable to overcome the first hurdle in Asian qualifying for Germany 2006. They were clearly outmatched in the away leg of their tie with Middle Asian side Turkmenistan, giving away two early goals and eventually falling 11-0. In the return leg, Afghanistan showed their enthusiasm and spirit, losing by a much more respectable scoreline of 2-0.
Under coach Mohammed Yousuf Kargar, the Central Asian nation will open their FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign against Syria on 8 th and 28 th of October, 2007. While a place in the next round looks beyond their grasp, they will spare no efforts in springing a surprise of any level.