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Goat Polo

Listed under Spectator Sports in Kabul, Afghanistan.

  • Photo of Goat Polo
  • Photo of Goat Polo
  • Photo of Goat Polo
  • Photo of Goat Polo
Photo of Goat Polo
Photo by Anselmo Lastra
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Members of any animal rights groups might want to look away now, Goat Polo probably won’t be on your spectator sport wishlist. Played in Afghanistan and Kyrgyzstan, central Asia, the game is centuries old and goes by the name of Buzkashi. Basically it’s a game of polo, with riders on horseback in teams of two or three and large blankets mark the goals. I hear you ask, what about the goat? Well, the goat is killed and the head and hooves removed before the carcass is dropped into a bag. This bag is the “ball” and scoring is done by the bag being dropped onto the goal.

There isn’t much else to it, it’s physical with lots of blocking and wrestling taking place and there isn’t a pitch as such, so being a member of the crowd has its own risks as the game may come to you in the most literal way possible! The winners get the goat (surely thoroughly tender by this point) and take it to a nearby yurt as a gift, receiving a gift in return. As I stated earlier, you might not want to take your vegetarian girlfriend to this, but it does provide a fascinating glimpse of a different life and is an entertaining game to watch, as long as you can get over the whole goat corpse thing.

Written by  John Johnston.

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