The 2023 Afghan Cup kicked off on Saturday, November 4 as Victoria's brightest look to claim the competition for the second year running.
The football tournament has become a tradition for more than 70,000 members of the Afghan Australian community, serving as a bookend to the year for the past 16 years.
There are 14 Victorian sides split across two groups, competing to gain qualification to the national knockout stage. Across the country, there is roughly 1100 players, representing over 42 teams from Sydney, Brisbane, Canberra, Tasmania, Perth, Adelaide, and Melbourne.
Melbourne Afghan Soccer Association (MASA) President Raz Baqeri said the Afghan Cup is “always a highlight” on his calendar.
“The tournament really brings everyone together from around the country,” he explained.
The Victorian-based teams will be looking to taste victory once again after teams from Melbourne claimed both the men's and women's competitions in 2021.
Afghan Premier won the men's final 2-1, while the women's final was won in a dramatic penalty shootout in 2021.
The qualification process will take place every weekend until December 14 at Casey Fields.
Football Victoria Programs Manager Abraham Abraham has worked closely with the AFSA and claimed it has "been great" to see the tournament grow year after year.
"It’s crucial for us to engage and we have been engaging with our Victoria community tournaments to provide opportunities for community events to take part and play football at grassroots level," he said.
"We support in various ways to ensure the tournament grows and provides opportunities for women’s men's, boys, girls, disability and other specialist groups to engage."