Latest post from Zaffar and Khelo Rugby in Afghanistan
The past week in Kabul most days for me has started under the strict rule of our latest Khelo Community Coach Khanjer, and things could not be going better! Time in Kabul is punctuated in a way I have never experienced before same usual bomb blast, the same usual dohg (a local street drink made with Yogurt) and most of all the people and their smiling faces in times of difficulty and misery. But Afghanistan still looks stunning all the time.
Kabul has always surprised me and the biggest surprise came to me these last few weeks while I was coaching with Khanjer. Khanjer has quite a bit of experience as a rugby player, in 2011 he came to Kolkata to train with my club the Jungle Crows hardly knowing the game, since then he has played for Afghanistan in Dubai and Asian 7s in Mumbai. And he has also just gone through our Khelo Community Coaching programme here in Kabul.
What Khanjer has is this great way of coaching, a way I have only seen Coaches with ten or more years of experience coach. He has a focus on precision and the skill of making difficult drills or game situations look really easy to kids.
I sat down with Khanjer for a few minutes between coaching and dohg and asked him what Khelo meant to him and what he thought were his coaching values.
Khanjer started by saying the most important part in coaching was to give “TIME and have FUN, especially with kids. I have not been too long in regby (that’s how he says it) but I have tried to watch games on TV and think why would some one do this in a particular game situation and that keeps me updated and thinking about the game. I research all the time watching videos through my phone and laptop either live or downloaded slowly. Zindagi ma tabdil shood hamrahe regby (life has changed in many ways with rugby).”
I ask him how, he says smiling “my knee is injured so that is the biggest change as I cannot play so much but one of the best things which has happened to me is , people know me now because of regby and more off I have a crazy group of kids hanging around me all the time.”
So I ask him, what do you think of Khelo Rugby, how’s that made a difference? “Khelo is a good thing that is happening to the kids here, many kids now are playing and having the chance to learn, I cannot say in hundreds now but Inshallah (Good willing) it will get there soon and then these kids will be the next champions of Afghanistan when maybe I am old… (laughs) well not that old I think. We have lot of players here who can be good coaches and I think they should get more involved in developing regby.”
It’s been great working with Khanjer over the past couple of weeks and seeing how he is really driven by his dream of taking rugby to all the children of Afghanistan, I am hoping that Khelo Rugby can bring that dream a bit closer to reality.