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June 17, 2006

World Cup a kick for fans everywhere

By Edrees Kakar

PESHAWAR, Pakistan – Football, also known as soccer, is considered the king of sports, with more fans than any other.

Now, the eyes of the world – not to mention television cameras and radio microphones – are on the king’s main event, the World Cup, which started June 9 in Germany.

Since the first football World Cup in 1930 in Uruguay, the tournament has come to different parts of the globe every four years, and now is gathering teams from 32 nations from six continents of the globe, each with huge hopes and preparations.

People from different parts of the world attend World Cup games in the hosting country, and others wait in their home countries to watch the matches on television.

As the situation in my native Afghanistan is better this year than in previous World Cups and football is the most popular game in the country, the Afghan people counted the days until the start of the World Cup.

The recent tournament in Kabul, in which five football clubs from Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan and Tajikistan took part, freshened interest in the worldwide tournament.

In the regional tournament, the Afghan club Arman Kabul emerged as leaders. It was Afghanistan’s great achievement after years of war.

For the current World Cup, Afghan national television, with two popular private channels from inside the country, have scheduled live broadcasts of World Cup games with commentary in Afghan languages, making it easier for viewers there.

Before the tournament began, Afghan youths selected their favorite team and set about challenging friends and mates to see who could predict the winner.

Even in Pakistan, where most of the population loves cricket, their national television still broadcasts the World Cup games regularly. That shows interest in the games in Pakistan, and leads me to believe that football has massive fans in each country of the world.

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