Asad Ziar is CEO and Founder of Rugby Federation Afghanistan recently we talk to him about his experience and future of Rugby sport in Afghanistan …….
1. Tell us something about yourself, schooling and college life ?
My name is Asad Ziar , lived in Pakistan for about two decades as a refuge and currently working as the CEO of Afghanistan Rugby Federation and about my education I would like to state that I have two master degree ; one in English Literature and another in Business Administration . I would like to add that I was a science student and after my intermediate I did joined a private medical college in Peshawar to become a doctor while my luck did not work and the college was banned by the Pakistani Law Enforcement Agencies and at that time was a 3rd year medical student, and as someone who had to support his family I had nothing left to start my remaining one and a half year of my medical education at any other reputed medical college in Pakistan or abroad. Hence the only reason I am not a doctor is my weak financial status at that time, while now I am happy that I managed to help my brothers with their higher education and this year one of them got his M.B.B.S degree from a very reputed university of the world.
2. You are CEO and Founder of Afghanistan Rugby Federation, when you decided to start this sport in Afghanistan?
The idea of starting rugby was kind of a shared idea , we are three friends one is Mr. Mohammad Mansoor , Mr. Abdul Khalil and me , we all have worked with foreign forces in Afghanistan and sometimes we were watching them playing rugby at their forward operating bases ( FOBs) and we finally joined hands together to develop the sport of rugby in Afghanistan.
3. You started alone working on making Rugby Federation or someone help you too ?
I was alone in Afghanistan while I do have continuous support from one of my friend Mr. Mohammad Mansoor who is currently living in Dubai, UAE and I do get support from my friend Abdul Khalil who is based in United Kingdom.
4. Are you a rugby player too ?
Yes, But I do not play since I have to manage and develop the sport.
5. What is the future of Rugby in Afghanistan and what is ARF doing for its promotion?
I see the sport of rugby as the most playing sport in Afghanistan and the main reason behind the interest of the Afghans to the sport of rugby can be the national game of Afghanistan which is called Buzkashi which is a cross between rugby and polo where horsemen use goat carcass as a ball. While most of the players who join us states that “Buzkashi is a tough sport because you can fall from your horse and the goat is very heavy too to lift “Now a days Buzkashi is not played in all the provinces and by many people because it is not possible for all those who wants to play Buzkashi to buy a horse for themselves and that is the reason the game is not developing and does not have any regional tournaments. I can say that Afghans are physically fit for playing rugby while technically we are lacking the experience. Recently in tournament, West Asia Rugby Sevens Tournament in Dubai UAE, Afghanistan managed to secure the second position beating UAE By 33:00 and Lebanon by 22:00.
6. What kind of difficulties you are facing when it comes sports kinds of activities in Afghanistan ?
The major difficulties include the lack of grounds in Afghanistan and there is no sporting facilities or very limited facilitation for the development of sport in Afghanistan.
7. What kind of Help Afghan Government providing you ?
The Afghan National Olympic Committee has helped us with issuing the passports for the players and a single ground where now a days we cannot play because of the condition of the ground.
8. You are receiving any kind of assistance for International Rugby Federations too ?
We do get some help from the Asian Rugby Football Union , The British Embassy in Kabul, and I must say that I have some friends from around the globe who are helping me with some technical guidance and sometimes with rugby stuff for our players.
9. We read in news papers about Afghan Cricket Team, how you compare Rugby popularity among people when cricket is gaining more attention of people there ?
We are proud of our cricket team and they really did a splendid job to reach the position where they are today. We are doing our best to follow their path and we do have good cooperation with Afghanistan Cricket Board.
10. As security conditions in Afghanistan is not good and with time they are becoming more worse how these conditions affecting Rugby activities and how they will affect in future ?
It is a fact that no faction in Afghanistan is against the development of sport and all of them like sport activities and realize that sport will be developing but with little slow momentum while no major threat for the development of rugby. We do have some examples of the positive influence of sport that we can mention here; Japan suffered extensive damage in the second world war. Essential items such as housing and food were scarce and people struggled just to survive. However, even at this time of extreme poverty, sporting activities began to spring up nationwide. It was as if people’s eagerness to participate in sport, which had been suppressed during the war, suddenly exploded. Afghans are not different from Japanese but we were playing sport during the wars and civil unrest too. Afghans always have respect for sport if opportunities are created for them.
11. What you do in free time ?
Routinely when I have free time I try to write articles about the development of sports in Afghanistan , read articles about the current affair of Afghanistan and the world, watch political discussion on TV & social media activities.
12. As you are working for Afghan youth, how you specially and the youth see the future of Afghanistan?
The new generation is optimistic about the future of Afghanistan and they do not think that there will be situation likewise in 1990s. I think that the situation in Afghanistan will be Zigzag, since we did not witness peace and stability in the past one decade where we had the support from the international community and in fact the government as well did not have a solid plan to maintain stability and promote peace.
13. You are so active on social media too and you have thousands of followers, how you see the role of social media in promoting Rugby or spreading the awareness among young afghans ?
Social media is playing an important role in promoting rugby in Afghanistan and as well it is the most inexpensive tool for the awareness of the young Afghans.
14. You are a writer too, so you only write about sports or about other issues too like politics and culture and fashion etc ?
Writing sport articles is my hobby but I love to write about the politics, security and current affair of my country and the reason I have not started writing is that my current responsibilities does not allow me to involve in sensitive issues . While I can say that you may read my articles about politics, security and current affairs in the future.
15. What are your future plans ?
To promote rugby into a level where cricket is now in Afghanistan
16. Your message for readers and your fans ?
My message is for all is that “Ethnicity is more often a proxy for others interest “ so please do not be involve in any such process and if you want to have a happy life, try to promote brotherhood and passion amongst each other.
Chief Executive Officer
Afghanistan Rugby Federation
Founder of Rugby in Afghanistan