The team has voiced complaints of serious corruption by the country’s football federation.
At least 18 players from the Afghanistan men’s team are boycotting their upcoming World Cup qualifying match against Qatar over their treatment by the football federation.
Footballers from the Afghanistan squad sent a letter last month to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and FIFA claiming allegations of serious corruption by their country’s Afghanistan Football Federation, as reported by the Guardian.
The letter, seen by the Guardian and signed by three overseas-based players, highlights a frustrated statement from the squad disclosing that the financial aid from the AFC and FIFA was not being used correctly by the Afghanistan Football Federation.
“The last straw came at the last camp when a big group of us decided that we’d had enough – 18 players got together and said: ‘If we’re going to move forward, we have to put a stop to this,” Noor Husin, who plays for both the Afghan national team and Southend United FC told the Guardian.
“We really want change. We want to help domestic players because the money they are getting from FIFA is not being used in the right way. We have the worst flights possible, and we have to stay in substandard hotels,” Husin added.
The 26-year-old footballer stated that his team wants to compete but will not move forward with those currently in control of the federation.
“We’ve come together as a group because we want football in Afghanistan to move forward and we believe that it’s not going to move forward with the people that are in charge at the moment,” Husin said.
Faysal Shayesteh, a former captain of the Afghanistan team, urged FIFA to investigate the federation, saying “the money is going into the pockets of a gang who is ruling football in the country.”
FIFA has yet to make a ruling, but a spokesperson from the football governing said the body is looking into the matter.
“FIFA was informed of these allegations very recently and is currently looking into the matter,” the spokesperson said.
Despite a triumph in the 2013 South Asian Football Federation Championship, Afghanistan has yet to make it into a World Cup tournament.
Afghanistan is set to face India, Kuwait, and Qatar in Group A. It is unclear if the qualifier match against Qatar will go ahead on November 16, especially after former Manchester United academy graduate Ashley Westwood was officially unveiled as the new manager of the national team on Wednesday.
At the signing ceremony of his one-year contract, Westwood said “any players we feel don’t have the right attitude or the right commitment, then they won’t get picked.”