Kabul: Afghanistan is launching its first professional football championship with the ambitious goal of bringing peace to the war-torn country — and with teams chosen on a groundbreaking reality television show.
Thousands of young Afghans have already applied to take part, with the members of each of the eight teams to be selected on the “Maidan e Sabz” (Green field) programme.
It will be the first Afghan football championship to be broadcast on television. Previous amateur competitions have involved little-known players and failed to capture the public’s imagination.
Football-crazy Afghans are more passionate about European competitions, especially Spain’s La Liga. Cushions with the emblems of Barcelona and Real Madrid are often seen in the back shelves of cars in Kabul.
The tournament, to be played in September and October, will involve pool and knockout stages with matches broadcast on Afghanistan’s two main TV channels.