Afghan coach confident of qualifying for 2011 World Cup

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Dar Es Salaam, Oct 12 (UNI) After clinching the Pepsi ICC World Cricket League Division 4, Afghanistan coach Kabir Khan believes that his side is capable of making it to the ICC World Cup 2011.

Khan, whose side recorded dramatic victories over Tanzania and Hong Kong to remain undefeated in the group stages, has genuine belief that Afghanistan is good enough to play in world cricket's showpiece 50-over event.

''2011 is a dream - I am very hopeful about it. I want the players to be there as they really deserve to be,'' said Khan, who represented Pakistan in Test and ODI cricket.

''We are taking things as they come and obviously we have to go through Division 3 to start with. Once we have achieved that target we will be through to the World Cup Qualifier and we will make another plan for that,'' he added.

Khan has already begun planning for the Pepsi ICC World Cricket League Division 3 in Argentina in January 2009, which is a six-team event involving the two qualifiers from this event, plus PNG, Cayman Islands, Argentina and Uganda.

The top two sides from that event will progress to the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier, with the four leading Associate and Affiliate sides making it through to 2011.

''We have time on our side now. The guys have already started playing as a team. We need to raise our game a bit and be a bit fitter and be more mentally prepared for the tournament,'' said Khan. ''We have options for our training camp. We could go to Pakistan or India. I would prefer to have a training camp with similar conditions to Argentina. If we have a camp in Afghanistan or Peshawar it will be winter and it will be cold, while the weather in Argentina will be warm.'' A brilliant spell of spin bowling from player of the tournament Mohammad Nabi helped Afghanistan clinch the Pepsi ICC World Cricket League Division 4 by 57 runs.

Nabi took 4-9 in the final yesterday, as Hong Kong was 122 all out, but it was Rais Ahmadzai who took the man-of-the-match award for the second consecutive game, meaning that Afghanistan has now won successive Pepsi ICC World Cricket League events following its win in Jersey in Division 5 in May.

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