A two-day Buzkashi contest between two Bamiyan teams – Yakawlang No. 1 and Bamiyan A – wrapped up on Monday in central Bamiyan province.
Buzkashi is Afghanistan’s national sport in which horse-mounted players attempt to place a goat or calf carcass in a goal. Competitions are held several times a year across Afghanistan.
This week’s contest took place in PD4 in the Dasht-e-Qol Bidak area – and each team had eight players.
Zia-ud-din Beikzad, Bamiyan Sports Director, stated that the purpose of holding this competition was to promote “mutual acceptance” and “friendship” between different ethnic groups in Afghanistan.
“Today’s match was [finished] at a 16-16 draw. The cup was presented to the Yakawlang team for good ethics and goodwill,” Beikzad added.
Beikzad stated that the Taliban also presented the Buzkashi grounds to the Afghan teams after the competition.
Mohammad, a member of Yakawlang No. 1 said: “I played for the Bamiyan A team for ten years, but it has been two years since I joined the Yakawlang team. There are always wins and losses in games, and a team wins [the competition].”
Mohammad also added that he was not happy with Yakawlang No. 1’s performance but added that the Bamiyan A team had been extremely hospitable and had gifted the trophy to Yakawland No.1.
Ghafoor, another Buzkashi player, urged the Taliban to pay the sport more attention.
“We have another competition in Balkh on March 5 and we urge the government (Taliban) to pay the expenses of the players, the government has done nothing for us, except that they held today’s competition,” he added.
Rajab, another player said: “The Buzkashi competition held in Bamiyan today was a very good competition. It created a good feeling among the people. In the end, the Yakawlang team won and the game ended in favor of Yakawlang.”
Buzkashi is also played in other Central Asian countries, albeit under different names – including Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan. It is also played and watched by numerous ethnic groups in the county.