Afghanistan Football Federation’s (AFF) dedication to the development of grassroots football in the country has earned it the AFC Grassroots Charter Bronze Membership.
The Grassroots Charter is a development tool for Member Associations (MA) to raise the quality of their grassroots programmes. It identifies 20 performance categories such as grassroots competitions, structure, long-term planning and partnerships, with PFF excelling in all criteria.
AFF is the 24th Member Association to receive the Membership, joining the likes of Australia, China PR, Malaysia, among others, from across the Continent.
The AFF has been focusing on three key areas: MA endorsed grassroots programmes, grassroots competitions and grassroots courses.
MA Endorsed Grassroots Programmes
A major strength of the AFF in relation to grassroots growth is its philosophy in cooperating with other MAs around the region. The mutual effort, coupled with international support, has enabled over 180 games and events in Afghanistan, with over 4,700 recorded participating.
AFF’s various projects brings in participants from all ethnicity, religion, ability or disability, with the women’s game one AFF’s top priorities, where the objective is to grow participation with competition as its main driver. There are also plans for a U-14 league.
The AFF categorises youth into four phases: fun, foundation, formative and final. Children from the ages of 6 to 10 are introduced to the game, where the goal is to enjoy football. They will then move on to the foundation phase which is for the 11 to 13 age-group, where school competitions will be held in each province.
As competition brews ambition and develops skills, the formative phase looks at the selection of elite players below 16-years-old, while the final phase seeks out potential national team players for the AFC youth tournaments.
The AFF has organised grassroots competitions for boys U-12, U-14, U-16 and girls U-15 and U-17 in club and school competitions, with further plans to include an U-19 women’s futsal competition in 2021 as part of the strategic development plan for women’s grassroots football.
The AFF has invested heavily in the education of future grassroots coaches. Annually, 12 grassroots coaching courses, four grassroots workshops and an MA grassroots instructor course are organised, as well as 35 youth and amateur referees’ courses for youth.
Since 2016, over 1,000 grassroots coaches have benefitted from the courses, with increasing interest.