Afghanistan Water Polo T-Shirts

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Agreeing to coach the Afghanistan National Water Polo Team

After a week of Leilani and I discussing and praying about the opportunity that Rohullah Marouf, the Swim Chair at the Afghanistan National Olympic Committee, presented us with, Leilani and I agreed that we would proceed. I asked Reshad to arrange a meeting with Rohullah so we can discuss this. I did not tell Reshad what my answer was as I was going to make sure that everything was in place with the Afghanistan National Olympic Committee before I started advertising this project.

Once the meeting was set, I told Abdul Kholic what our plan was and he offered to provide the armed escort. He was very excited about this as he hoped that I would say yes to the opportunity presented to me. He, just like many others, think that this is such a great honor. I do not think they realize the vast responsibility that is associated with this. We are starting this from scratch, to include the fact that there is absolutely no funding. Upon Abdul Kholic's question of what my answer would be, I told him he would have to wait until after the meeting. I am sure that he was confident that he knew the answer because all of a sudden he was in a good mood, after a week of him being irritated with me and trying to convince me to do this.

We went to the Ministry of Defense on our way to meet with Rohullah to take care of some administration issues. While there, we met with a Afghan National Army General about these administrative topics. While speaking with him, the General brought up to us how proud he was of the 201st Corps Swim and Water Polo Team and he wanted to wish success for me leading the Afghanistan National Water Polo Team. When I asked Reshad how he found out, he said that they did not say anything and that there are no secrets in Afghanistan.

The meeting with Rohullah was quick and full of energy and excitement. I told Rohullah what our answer was and we got straight down to business. I told Rohullah what my plan was to train the team, bringing them outside of Afghanistan, and he explained all of the roadblocks, primarily the issues concerning nepotism and pockets with holes in them. The nepotism issue I definitely think we can work but the hole in the pockets is difficult as it cuts out potential funding opportunities from the Olympic Council of Asia and the International Olympic Committee.

Rohullah promised me that he will get me a letter saying that Afghanistan Water Polo is official and I am going to be the coach, so I have source documents to show people about the validity of our program, if needed.

With Rohullah, Reshad, and Abdul Kholic very excited, we departed from Rohullah's office and went back to the 201st Commando Kandak. On the drive back, all that was in my mind about how there is so much planning and work to do. First on my list, is to set up a meeting with the selected athletes for the national team, to include the alternates.

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