Monday, July 02, 2007

Representing A Broken Country

Iraq's Brazilian coach gives the Guardian's Matthew Hall a little taste of what it's like to lead a team through the chaos that is present-day Iraq:
"You cannot imagine it. I am in a real Arabic souk. Every day, I don't know where we will go for training. Every day, people want to meet with me for two or three hours a day to discuss the players. Today, I kicked a chair. I kicked everything."
As Jorvan Vieira readies his team for the upcoming Asian Cup, he has the Iraqi national team training in Amman, Jordan. Though safer than Baghdad, because of a mounting Iraqi refugee problem, things can be a little taxing in Jordan:
"When some players arrived here in Amman they had to wait six or seven hours at the airport," Vieira explained. "The Jordanian police would not allow them to come into the country. Nobody did anything, nobody moved, nobody wrote a list of players to tell the government that this is the Iraq national team. The players suffered only because they had Iraqi passports."
Iraq has been grouped with Thailand, Australia, and Oman at the Asian Cup with hopes that some of the success the Olympic team had in Athens, rubs off on them. They kick off the tournament against co-host Thailand on Saturday.

'If some of these players go home they will be killed' [Guardian]


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