Buzkashi: National Sport of Afghanistan

A game you can’t play if you can’t ride a horse

Afghan players are grabbing the dead goat in Buzkashi (photo by: Kimberly Stinson)

The word ‘Buz in Persian language, means ‘goat’ and Kashi mean ‘grabbing’. The Buzkashi (goat grabbing) is the national sport of Afghanistan mostly played in the northern side of Afghanistan.

When and how Afghans have adopted this game

Historians believe that in the past during the era of Mangols people used to snatch the cattle and properties by force. At that time they were using the horses to escape from the scene. From than the dwellers of Afghanistan adopted the horse riding as a passion. They started traveling and carrying their households on the horses. The horse and donkeys were the only source of transportation in the area few decades ago. Gradually they started to carry goats, sheep and calf on the horses.

Defending their livestock and property from thefts, they now has become expert in snatching the carcass. Mangols can only be found in the chapters of the history but Afghans are happy and feel proud to call Buzkashi as their national game.

“Buzkashi is a rugged and traditionally extremely violent, game similar to polo with one surprising twist, rather than hitting a ball with smallest towards a goal, players vie for control of a headless animal carcass,” describes Melissa on www.todayifoundout.com

What is needed in the sport of Buzkushi?

A carcass goat, an experienced rider with up to a five year well trained horse. Bringing an untrained horse in the ground of Buzkashi is tantamount to commit a suicide.  The horse is especially trained for the game of Buzkashi. The players must be energetic and strong enough to carry a dead goat, sheep even a calf.

The player and the horse both has equal roles

The players alone can’t do if the horse does not understand the speed and angles of other horses.

Types of Buzkashi

There are two types of Buzkashi one is called  as Tudabari where the players fight over the carcass. They began the play from a circle, carry the dead goat to the other corner of the ground; at this moment other riders also try their lever best to snatch the carcass. The other type of Buzkashi is known as Qarajai here player began grabbing the carcass and drop it again on the same circle. Fighting over the carcass some becomes very dangerous. A tiny mistake may leads to braking legs and arms even some causes fatal injuries or deaths. Playing the Buzkashi is like driving without any speed limit on the highway.

Rule of the game

No one is allowed pull to drop the other player deliberately. It is strictly prohibited to whip the other horse or player. If the players accedes more than hundreds they are split into further groups. The audiences are bond to keep a distance from the circle of the game. It is the worth mentioning that the

meat of the carcass used in Buzkashi is not eat able, that is only used to judge the ability, power and the skills of the player and horse.

Two Afghan players struggling to have the carcass while “Buzkashi” (Photo by; Gloriann Liu)

What the winner gets?

It is not only the cricket where players get thousands of dollars cash prize and considerable amount of other prizes. Buzkashi players also get a huge amount of money, fine cloths as prize and other prize tittles. The champion of the Buzkashi he who grabbed the carcass is titled as “Chapandaz”.

For more information watch the video of “Buzkashi”

From traditional to commercialization

Many years ago it was just a traditional game. People used to play it on their traditional events. Today it has become commercialized. For many Afghans it is not only a game but their source of income as well.Obviously the players need the backing to feed and train the horse plus their family members. A common man can’t afford the expenses of the horse to prepare it for Buzkashi competition so the wealthy people come forward and gives the financial support for both the player and the horse.The war lords of Afghanistan mostly sponsor this game.

The Afghan Olympic Federation of Afghanistan has introduced this game on international forums but was observed only in Kabul and surroundings. The government also has set the rules for the game which describes that the boundary must be 400 meters; each team must contain five players at a time.

By; Qurban


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