The game, the first hosted inside Afghanistan in five years, marked the occasion of Independence Day for the country. It was also touted as an audition of sorts for FIFA to allow the country to host officially sanctioned games inside Afghanistan in the future.
“By hosting the Palestinian team, we will show to FIFA that we can be a good host and we can convince them to take us out of the list of the five countries which are banned to host football matches,” said Ali Kazimi, an official of Afghanistan Football Federation said in a report of the match by TOLO News.
The 23-year-old Najem, born and raised in New Jersey, is the son of an Afghan immigrant and several members of his extended family have played for the Afghanistan national team. The game in Kabul was his first trip to Afghanistan.