Monday, August 16, 2004

Hello again

Hi All,

I haven't been blogging for the last 2 months, partly laziness/holidays/and mostly because there were football tournaments to follow, which kind of took my time.

Anyway, as most of you are aware, Iraq football team got into the thick of action last Thursday and beat Portugal, one of the favourites to win the olympic gold medal in a very exciting match. Yesterday, they beat Costa Rica to confirm qualification to the 2nd round of the football tournament.

I came across an editorial in about the win against Portugal and thought that it was worth sharing with you all. I whole-heartedly agree with writer’s words and, I sincerely hope that our politicians can learn from those young men who achieved something regarded as difficult if not impossible. Here goes the article:

“Editorial: Iraqi Team’s Victory

14 August 2004

At last some unalloyed good news for Iraq. Against all the odds, the Iraqi football team thrashed the Portuguese national team 4-2 in their opening Group D game in the Olympic football competition. Portugal, runners-up in the European Championships, clearly had no answer to the determined tactics of their Arab opponents.Those who would say that it is wrong to read too much into a game of football should think again. Whatever the fortunes of the Iraqi footballers in the rest of the competition, this startling initial victory is of crucial importance to all Iraqis not simply because it is a positive achievement at a time when so much in the country seems negative. This outstanding success means so much because it was gained by a team of players drawn from all the ethnic and cultural groups within the country. The only criterion for a player’s selection was ability. The overwhelming guideline for all members of the squad was that they should work together as a team. And this is what they did so magnificently. Their victory is therefore not simply on the football pitch itself. They have demonstrated in the most compelling and public manner that Iraqis can work together and gain success off the football field as well as on it.The essential ingredients needed for victory in the face of apparently overwhelming odds are discipline, determination and a deep pride in being Iraqi. What was achieved Thursday in Athens can be achieved tomorrow in Baghdad, Fallujah, Najaf, Basra, Mosul and throughout the country.The guiding rule is that Iraqis must work together. When they manage that they can surmount whatever challenges are thrown in their way. On Thursday Iraqis everywhere followed the match with disbelief and rising delight. How could their team be outplaying and beating one of the best football teams in the world which included highly paid international stars like Manchester United’s winger Cristiano Ronaldo? Of course there were awful errors like Haidar Jabar’s. But this was more than made up for by brilliant playing from his team mates which at times made the elite Portuguese players seem mundane and quite without an adequate response to driving Iraqi tactics.This was not a victory for the interim government. It certainly was not a victory for the coalition forces. It was a victory for Iraqis, all Iraqis, whether they are die-hard Baathists in the so-called Sunni triangle or people from the poorest parts of the Shiite community who make up the Mehdi Army. Iraq’s football stars won that victory for all of them. They battled on the sports field to show that there is no need for Iraqis to be fighting each other in the streets. Their football win shows Iraqis that by working together, they can also win the peace.”

Just to look at a sample of players in that team:

Qusay Muneer Iraqi from Basra
Noor Sabri Iraqi from Najaf
Emad Mohammed Iraqi from Baghdad
Ahmad Minajid Iraqi from Falluja
Hawar Mulla Mohammed Iraqi from Mosul
Younis Mahmood Iraqi from Kirkuk

Can our politicians learn from them?