The Afghanistan national cricket team has announced quite the goal: qualifying for the 2015 World Cup, reported Agence-France Press.
Cricket is hugely popular in Afghanistan, gaining quite the following since refugees first introduced the sport there after the Soviet invasion. Fans have been eagerly following the team's success -- surprising the international circuit, said The Guardian:
Forget the usual reminders that Afghanistan has now been at war for more than three decades. The nation has only just adopted cricket and in the last 10 years it has managed to field a team that is a serious regional contender and an underdog not to be overlooked at international tournaments.
The Afghan team is training intensively in Pakistan before playing their first matches of several against the nation starting next week, said AFP.
Coach Kabir Khan said the team hopes to win a place in the 2015 World Cup, set to be held in Australia and New Zealand, according to AFP.
"[I]t would be great if we achieve our target by playing well against Scotland and other minor teams in the World League and other qualifying matches," he said, reported AFP.
The team has been doing well, playing the 2012 World Twenty20 and qualifying for last year's one-day internationals against Pakistan and Australia, said AFP.