Sandjar Ahmadi is a rising star in Afghan football. His list of accolades is growing quickly. In September, he scored in both Afghanistan’s semifinal win and final match to help Afghanistan win their first major championship. The future is bright for the recently turned 22 year old.
Following a stint with Mumbai FC, Ahmadi is back with his German club TuS Dassendorf. They currently are in 1st place in the Oberliga Hamburg, and are hopeful to be promoted at the end of the season.
We Global Football’s Brandon Riff spoke with rising Afghanistan star Sandjar Ahmadi about the upcoming AFC Challenge Cup in Maldives.
Some Personal Items
WGF: First, before we discuss football, let’s focus on the important things. Being in Germany for so long, you must have a favorite beer. Which is your favorite?
SA: Yes it is right that I’m in Germany for a long time, but I never drank alcohol or smoked, so I can’t say which is my favorite beer.
(We got off to a rough start)
WGF: How did your time playing in the I-League for Mumbai affect your game? What did you learn?
SA: My time in Mumbai was OK. At first it was hard for me because everything was new for me, but I was lucky that my friend Amiri was there, so he helped me a lot. And in India it was another play style and it needs time to play in I-League. I learned to live alone and be strong because I had also bad times in Mumbai.
WGF: Where do you anticipate your club career headed in the future?
SA: I don’t know what is in the future, but at first I will stay in Germany or in Europe.
Before The Cup
WGF: On to the AFC Challenge Cup, when will you be joining the national side?
SA: For me it is a little difficult because I have games with my club in Germany. So, I must speak with my club if they allow me so then i can join the National team. It depends on my team.
WGF: Maldives looks like an amazing place to vacation. Will the team be staying in a bungalow overlooking the Indian Ocean?
SA: Yes, Maldives is a beautiful place that’s right. And I’ve always wanted to visit Maldives. I don’t know where we stay or where we play, but I hope that we have a nice place to stay there with a view of the Indian Ocean.
WGF: Will you be playing in either of the friendlies against Kyrgyzstan or Tajikistan?
SA: Yes, it was not easy for me to play against Kyrgyzstan because on the day before I had a game in Germany. After the game was my flight and on the day I arrived in Dubai, and then direct to the game against Kyrgyzstan. It was for me very stressful, and I was very tired. But I hope it will be different against Tajikistan.
WGF: Have you had a chance to speak yet with interim coach Erich Rutemöller? If so, how have those discussions been?
SA: I hear a lot from Erich Rutemöller and I saw him in Dubai, but i didn’t speak with him until now. Maybe in Tajikistan we will have time or in Kuwait when we have training camp. He is a good coach, but I saw him a very short time. We will see what happens then in the tournament.
WGF: Our rankings indicate that Afghanistan is the best team in Group B. Do you feel like Afghanistan is the team to beat?
SA: We have a strong group with good teams. It will not be easy for us, but we will try the best and play like other games. We hope and want to win in the group, and then I hope we win the tournament. We will do everything in all games to win this.
WGF: Who do you think will pose the biggest threat to stopping your team’s goals?
SA: All teams can be. I can’t say because it is football and everything can happen. We played last time against Laos. It was very hard to play against them. Laos is a good team. Also, Maldives because they play in their homeland.
WGF: Do you plan on scoring the winning goal for your national side again in this tournament?
SA: I will give in all games my best. It doesn’t matter who scores the goal; It’s important to win the games. But of course I will be happy to score goals for the National team for my country.
WGF: Afghanistan has never qualified for the Asian Cup. How much would it mean to the future of Afghan football to be able to reach such a high level?
SA: After winning the South Asia Cup, we want to win now the Challenge Cup. All people in Afghanistan and all Afghans around the world want now that we win the Challenge Cup. It means a lot for the country because all people in the world think that Afghan people are terrorists, but with sport and winning a cup we show the people who we are really.
WGF: Do you think World Cup 2018 is a realistic goal?
SA: There is much time until World Cup 2018, but I think it will be very difficult to play in the World Cup for us. But it is my dream to play in a World Cup. I think it is for all football players a dream to play in the World Cup. But first, we focus for the Challenge Cup.
We want to take the time to thank Sandjar Ahmadi for speaking with us. Being able to converse in a language other than your first language is very difficult as it is, and Sandjar did a great job. We will have our full Afghanistan team preview coming soon as well as plenty more AFC Challenge Cup content. Feel free to comment below or reach out to us via Twitter @We_Global.
Thanks for reading!