There were jubilant scenes in Kabul last night as Afghanistan announced an election rerun, drawing level with Ireland on 2-2.
The management of the Afghan national team by incumbent president Hamid Karzai appeared simultaneously to be paying off and meeting with disaster. Karzai’s electoral shenanigans resulted in an equaliser being arranged a mere three weeks after a magnificent Irish goal put them ahead on Lisbon, but pundits say Karzai may be unlikely to survive the second half. His side has showed signs of flagging and some of its wealthiest Western fans appear to have lost interest in the team’s progress.
Despite the celebrations over the result last night, Afghanistan remains likely to finish at the bottom of any UN league table you care to mention. Under the complicated points system, it has no chance of qualifying for membership of European Union – even if a place becomes available through the withdrawal of the British team, which could take place under their incoming manager next spring.