SPORTS  AND  RECREATION
Afghans are very fond of sports and games. Besides traditional sports, Afghans also enjoy football (soccer) and field hockey.

Northern Afghan men adore buzkashi ("grab the goat"), an ancient game that is believed to have been developed in central Asia and is considered part of Afghanís noble past. While various peoples play the game, the Uzbeks are considered its champions. Played on horseback, buzkashi may involve hundreds of players. Teams are limited to 10 men. A headless carcass, nowadays usually from a calf, is thrown on the ground in the centre of the circle of horsemen. At a signal, the riders rush in and each tries to lift the carcass onto his horse, a task that alone takes great strength. Yet to score a goal, the rider with the carcass must also gallop to a goal point (often over a mile away) through opposing riders armed with whips, then return to the starting point and drop the calf where it was picked up. The horses used for buzkashi are specially trained and costly.

Wrestling or pahlwani is also popular and often accompanies buzkashi matches. The object of the game is to pin oneís opponent to the ground without touching his legs. Men and boys also play a variation of rugby, in which two teams face each other and one person tries to rush over and break through the opposing team. Another rural game is gursai, in which players hold their left feet in their right hands and hop about trying to upset one another.

Childrenís games in Afghanistan include tag, blind-manís buff, kite flying and hopscotch. Girls enjoy volleyball, basketball and playing with homemade dolls, while boys play soccer or make slingshots. A game called buzul-bazi, similar to marbles, uses sheep knuckle bones. In winter, Afghan children enjoy having snowball fights. Some people also ski near Kabul.



  Did you know?
Some Afghan men fly "fighter kites" in competitions. Made with tissue paper and bamboo and painted with elaborate designs, the kits may have wing spans of 1.5 metres. Kite-flying line (called tar) is coated with glass and usually homemade. Flyers attempt to cut down each otherís kites.




  Did you know?
In the Nuristani area, Afghans play a form of hockey that uses a stick with a round head.