The 2017 Afghan Premier League (APL), sixth season, coincided with an exponential rise in participation, attracted the attention of millions of Afghans in the country and worldwide. This year’s football campaign was followed by enthralling matches both in the main event and regional tournaments. APL with cooperation of Afghanistan Football Federation (AFF) could successfully recognize the top talents of each region to be added to the representing team.
The league set new major records this year, specifically conducting the games in the evening under the floodlights after more than 43 years. The evening matches were admired by thousands of spectators in the AFF stadium. Likewise, based on the statistics, the presence of the families and women in the stadium was noticeably great; as more than 9,000 spectators gathered in the stadium for the final match of which more than 1,000 were Afghan females. It is to mention that the security threats could not reduce the excitement of this season, conversely, our football fans were way more passionate for the games rather than any of the previous seasons of the league.
Eight teams representing all 34 provinces in Afghanistan competed against each other in the group stage of the tournament, with Shaheen Asmayee, Simorgh Alborz, De Spinghar Bazan, and De Maiwand Atalan advancing to the Semi-finals. Football fans were enthralled by hard fought and outstanding playing from all qualifying teams. Shaheen Asmayee and De Maiwand Atalan emerged victorious from the Semi-finals; a carbon copy of last year’s final.
Shaheen Asmayee made a superb start in front of a vocal crowd and finished the rousing final match 4-3 to win the championship cup for the fourth time in the APL history. The team is the champions of 2013, 2014, 2016, and 2017 APL. Despite the amazing race by south zone representatives, De Maiwand Atalan, the team came as runners-up for the second consecutive year.
With a first-half wondergoal and clinging to 1-0 lead against Simorgh Alborz, De Spinghar Bazan won the 3rd place and made a significant improvement compared to 2016 when the team was eliminated in the group stage. Simorgh failed to keep their last year’s position and came fourth.
Amrudin Sharifi, De Maiwand Atalan striker, won the Golden Boot Award and Best Player Award of the tournament. Hamidullah Wakili, Atalan’s goalie, was recognized as the Best Goalkeeper and the Fair Play Award was represented to Toofan Harirod.
Watch full matches, highlights, and short clips of the 2017 Afghan Premier League (APL) on (www.youtube.com/afghanpremierleague). To see photos of your favorite teams, players, and matches, like APL Instagram page (Afghanpremierleague.official).