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Afghanistan reveal squad for Qatar, Bangladesh clashes


Kabul: Afghanistan have revealed the 23 players tasked with navigating the first steps of their Asian Qualifiers campaign for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023, with head coach Anoush Dastgir drawing on players far and wide for his squad, announced on Tuesday.

With players based from Cyprus to Canada and the Maldives to Melbourne, there are few parts of the globe unrepresented in Dastgir’s side, who will face Qatar in Doha on September 5, before Dushanbe, Tajikistan plays host to a home meeting with Bangladesh five days later.

Afghanistan’s squad members ply their trade in a total of 14 nations, with the Germany-based quartet of Zubayr Amiri, Abassin Alikhil, Hassan Amin and uncapped goalkeeper Hellal Hosseini making it the most common home, ahead of the Afghan Premier League, which provides three players, all from champions Toofan Harirod,

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The global footprint of the Afghan contingent bares a stark contrast to both of next month's opponents, with Bangladesh’s announced 25-man training squad all home-based and Qatar’s travelling party at this year’s Copa America not featuring a single player based outside the nation’s domestic competition.

Maldives-based defender Zohb Islam Amiri is the oldest man in Afghanistan’s squad, with his 32 years of age making him the elder of even head coach Dastgir, who, at 29, is one of the youngest international bosses in world football.

 

Currently 149th in the world rankings, Afghanistan face a tough opening match against Asian champions Qatar but are likely to fancy their chances against a Bangladesh side ranked 33 places below them on Matchday Two.

Afghanistan have never qualified for a FIFA World Cup or AFC Asian Cup, with their bid to qualify for Russia 2018 producing three wins out of eight matches.

Photo: Afghanistan Football Federation

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