Iraq to revive national soccer team

Updated: 25 February 2007 08:48 IST

Iraq's national soccer team will be reassembled and will begin training this week for next year's Olympic games.

Iraq to revive national soccer team
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Baghdad:

Iraq's national soccer team will be reassembled and will begin training this week for upcoming international competitions including qualifiers for next year's Olympic games. "Practice will commence this week," assistant national coach Adnan Hamad announced in a broadcast carried by Voice of New Iraq, a radio station of the US-led coalition. He urged all members of the former national team, which disintegrated in the run-up to the war, to show up at Baghdad's al-Karkh stadium. "We will train four times a week to be ready for the matches," Hamad said. "Iraq will be fully prepared for the Olympic qualifiers." A friendly between two popular teams, al-Zawra and Police, has been delayed twice in the past week and is now tentatively scheduled for Friday. It will be the first professional match held since the war. The end of the war in Iraq has been welcomed by the world soccer community, which says it wants to get the soccer-mad country reintegrated into international competitions as soon as possible. But all contact with the Iraq Football Association has been broken since before the start of the conflict. "The Asian Football Confederation and FIFA" - the sport's ruling body - "are extremely relieved that the war in Iraq has ended and the reconstruction of the country has begun," said Peter Velappan, secretary general of the 54-member AFC. (AP)

Topics : Football
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