Afghanistan-Australia Youth Association (AYYA) Committee member Ziulhaq Aziz described the reaction of the players selected to represent Sydney’s Afghan community in this month’s HomeWorld Thunder Nation Cup as “a sense of joy and delight”.
Ziulhaq made it clear the 10-player squad would play with plenty of pride when they compete in the ninth edition of the tournament.
“If you ask any one of them whether they have competed previously or for the first time they have a similar answer: they’ll do their best to make their nation, families, and community proud at the upcoming HomeWorld Thunder Nation Cup,” said Ziulhaq.
“It’s every players dream to play for their country and a sense of joy and delight was visible amongst the players selected for the first time in the HomeWorld Thunder Nation Cup squad.
“We are grateful for AAYA and Sydney Thunder for making this possible, and now we have a chance to have a crack at the HomeWorld Thunder Nation Cup it means a lot for us to participate.”
Ziulhaq said the spirit of the five-team Gala Day – which was used as the trial for the Afghan squad – was special because besides hosting some exciting cricket it brought people together.
“Afghan players who haven’t met or seen each other in a long time came together,” he said.
“They not only participated in the trials and showcased their talents for a chance to be selected, but they enjoyed the environment and each other’s company.”
Australian Federal Police (AFP) representatives attended the Gala Day, extending their involvement in the HomeWorld Thunder Nation Cup into a third season.
"The HomeWorld Thunder Nation Cup is not only about cricket, it’s also a celebration of the diverse of communities in NSW," said Jason Constable - Team Leader, Community Liaison Team, Eastern Command AFP.
"The AFP Community Liaison Team has been working closely with Western Sydney communities, and Sydney Thunder in recent times, with the aim to build stronger and lasting relationships with the community, and to build trust in the Australian government.
"Community engagement events like these are crucial in enhancing the AFP’s ability to connect with vulnerable community members and break down these barriers through cricket."
Team Afghanistan - HomeWorld Thunder Nation Cup
Ridwan Rahmatullah (C)
Abdul Qahar Qazizada
Kahlil ur Rehman
For more information about the HomeWorld Thunder Nation Cup, please click here.