U19 World Cup 2022: One Afghanistan player, three staff members refuse to travel back; seek refuge in UK

U19 World Cup 2022: One Afghanistan player, three staff members refuse to travel back; seek refuge in UK

The Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) is yet to make no official comment on the development.

Afghanistan U19 team
Afghanistan U19 team. (Photo source: Twittter)

As per the latest developments, four members of Afghanistan’s Under-19 team, which participated in the recently-concluded World Cup in West Indies, have stayed back in the UK and didn’t return to Afghanistan with their other teammates. This includes one player and three members from the support staff. The quartet is reportedly in London and their transit visas are set to expire on Tuesday (February 8).

The Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) is yet to make any official comment on the development. Meanwhile, the Afghanistan team enjoyed a fruitful campaign in the World Cup and finished at fourth place, three places higher than in 2020. They even came close to defeating England in the semi-final clash but narrowly lost the rain-curtained encounter by 15 runs.

Afghanistan quartet seeking asylum in London

While the Afghan side earned a lot of praises for their impressive show, this development has raised a lot of questions. As per a report in an Afghanistan news outlet, pashtovoa.com, “The Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) has confirmed that a member of the Under-19 team and three board members have fled to the British capital, London, seeking asylum”.

Meanwhile, former player Raees Ahmadzai, who was Afghanistan’s head coach during the World Cup, has urged the four to rethink and return back to their home country. Ahmadzai also said he has messaged all four but none of them replied.

“They received my messages. But they have not responded yet. I told them Afghanistan needs them. Sports and cricket has done a lot for Afghanistan. The support we got during the World Cup was amazing, unbelievable. Sometimes when you do things for your country, it will mean a lot for you in your whole life,” Ahmadzai told ESPNcricnfo.

“Sometimes you can get emotional and can decide in the spur of the moment, but once you re-think about what you did I think it will hurt you. I believe they will go back. It is a personal choice. Sometimes you don’t have a plan. I know these people. They were very good to work for Afghanistan cricket,” he added. In case the quartet decides not to return, Ahmadzai said it would not affect Afghanistan cricket but they will be “forever guilty”.