Afghanistan a Step Closer to Cricket World Cup

October 3 (The Age): Players from war-torn Afghanistan hope to take another step closer to the 2011 World Cup when they tackle five other contenders in the latest qualifying round which started in Tanzania on Saturday.

Afghanistan will compete against Hong Kong, Jersey, Fiji, Italy and hosts Tanzania for the top two places in the ICC World Cricket League Division Four which will ensure spots in Division Three.

The top two sides there will progress to the World Cup Qualifier in April 2009, with the top four sides from that making it to Asia in 2011.

"It's our dream to qualify for the 2011 World Cup," said fast bowler Hamid Hassan.

"I couldn't explain the feelings of happiness and joy if we get to achieve that. It will be a matter of pride for us to be watched live by the whole world on TV while representing Afghanistan."

Afghanistan, who won promotion from the fifth division earlier this year, have a new coach in former Pakistan international Kabir Khan.