Afghanistan’s Finance Minister on Tuesday pledged to give sport a higher budget saying that athletic achievements could help the cause of national unity.

In a Kabul meeting with officials from the Afghan National Olympic Committee, including the head Mohammad Zaher Aghbar, Hazrat Omar Zakhilwal suggested athletes may even receive salary-like amount to be able to focus on their training.

“There is nothing like sporting achievements to make people happy,” Zakhilwal said. “The victories of athletes in foreign competitions are beneficial in bringing national unity.”

Zakhilwal said he will seek to help athletes financially and they in turn should do their best to win for Afghanistan.

“An amount of money should be paid by government so to some extent their problems should be solved by the salary,” he said, adding that the government may focus such finances on the sports Afghanistan is already good at to assure victory for the country.

The Finance Minister also called on business owners and the private sector to support sport saying that not only will sport improve with investment but so will the country.

His comments come a week before Afghanistan is to host its first international boxing match with its own world champion boxer Hamid Rahimi fighting Dominican Republic boxer Rafael Bejaran.

Last week Afghanistan held the finals of its inaugural premier football league. Despite the season only running for four weeks, the league drew thousands of fans from across the country to Kabul for the grand final match.

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