Former Manchester United academy graduate appointed Afghanistan boss

Man United academy graduate is hired as manager of AFGHANISTAN – and faces a tough job ahead with players already planning on boycotting their next World Cup qualifier

  • Afghanistan will have a new manager for their upcoming game against Qatar 
  • It comes amid unrest within the squad who are upset about their treatment 
  • CHRIS SUTTON: Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta is a CLOWN – It’s All Kicking Off

Former Manchester United academy graduate Ashley Westwood has officially been unveiled as the new manager of the Afghanistan national team.

The surprise move comes amid much unrest from within the squad’s playing cohort, with eighteen players threatening to boycott their upcoming World Cup qualifier against Qatar. 

Claims have been made that they have suffered ‘substandard’ treatment by the Afghanistan Football Federation, with the Guardian reporting that it had seen a letter signed by three of the side’s players that asserting that players had been left unhappy with how the team was run. 

Afghanistan begin their World Cup qualification campaign on Thursday 16 November, and will also play India, Kuwait and Qatar as part of the qualification process.

And in a bid to help them reach the 2026 tournament, they have hired former Crewe, Wrexham and Sheffield Wednesday player, Westwood. 

According to reports on social media, the 47-year-old has agreed a one-year contract with the side, just eight days out from their game against Qatar. 

Ashley Westwood, former Man United academy player, was made new Afghanistan boss

Afghanistan begin their World Cup qualification campaign on Thursday 16

Westwood was given a warm welcome and has been given a one-year deal 

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Pictures of Westwood being unveiled by the Afghanistan Football Federation were posted on social media on Wednesday, with images of him holding up the national side’s football shirt at a press conference. 

The former defender enjoyed a 17-year career, that started in the academy set up at Manchester United. 

After graduating from the Red Devil’s academy, the centre-back would go on to sign for Crewe Alexandra for a reported fee of £40,000, before enjoying spells with clubs throughout the EFL, including Northampton, Bradford and Wrexham. 

He went on to score a total of 20 goals across all competitions throughout his career, spending the lion’s share of his career at Sheffield Wednesday where he played 94 matches. 

He retired from professional football in 2012, after a brief spell with Portsmouth, and subsequently took on the assistant managers position at the club before going on to coach at Blackpool and Blackburn. 

Westwood subsequently was hired as the manager of Bengaluru FC, his first managerial posting. He would lead the the I-League title in 2014, becoming the youngest coach to ever win the domestic competition. 

He would oversee 75 matches at Bengaluru before taking charge of Malaysian Super League side Penang, before a spell as the Technical Director at ATK. 

But taking charge of Afghanistan may be one of his toughest appointments yet, with several players alleging the country’s Football Federation has been involved in corruption and are now refusing to play. 

‘The last straw came at the last camp when a big group of us decided that we’d had enough – 18 players got together and said: “If we’re going to move forward, we have to put a stop to this”‘ Noor Husin said, per the Guardian, who also plays midfield for Southend United.

‘We really want change. We want to help domestic players because the money they are getting from Fifa is not being used in the right way. We have the worst flights possible and we have to stay in substandard hotels.

‘We’ve come together as a group because we want football in Afghanistan to move forward and we believe that it’s not going to move forward with the people that are in charge at the moment.”

The Afghanistan Football Federation’s (AFF) general secretary, Behram Siddiqui, has also previously denied allegations that AFF bosses have also been pocketing money from FIFA that is owed to players and developing the sport within the country. 

He said: “Since the regime transition in August 2021, there has been no movement of funds from Fifa or any external sources to the football federation’s bank account. Therefore, any previous actions concerning this issue are not within my knowledge.” 


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