A Kick In The Right Direction


Tom Freston praises Afghanistan’s first professional sports organization:

[The Afghan Premier League] is a great example of Afghan entrepreneurship. Afghans are good soccer players and have fielded a national team off and on since 1948. Games were primarily played outside the country, so few Afghans saw them. The genius of the A.P.L. was to recognize that, with 60 percent of Afghans now having access to television, soccer games could be broadcast nationally on the new networks and a proper league could be supported. Football fever has ensued. Here are some new heroes at last; buff, handsome, polite sportsmen with colorful uniforms and gelled hair.

A televised soccer league wasn't possible under the Taliban, which banned TV.

(Photo: Afghan boys play football in a field in Kabul on December 21, 2011. By Shah Marai/AFP/Getty Images.)