Arab Press

بالشعب و للشعب
Friday, Jan 27, 2023

Iraq to host eight-nation Gulf Cup for the first time since 1979

Iraq to host eight-nation Gulf Cup for the first time since 1979

After decades of war, invasions and instability, Iraq hosts the eight-nation Gulf Cup starting on Friday for the first time since 1979. For the country’s football officials and government, success off the field will be a bigger prize than success on it.
The national teams, all from West Asia and split into two groups of four, will converge on the southern port city of Basra.

If the 25th edition of the tournament progresses smoothly then it could encourage FIFA to allow World Cup qualifiers to return to Baghdad, which has not hosted a competitive international since before the 2003 US-led invasion due to concerns over the security situation in the city.

In the past two decades just two qualifiers have taken place in the country: against Jordan in Erbil in 2011 and Hong Kong in Basra eight years later. All other competitive games involving the national team have been played in countries such as Jordan, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

Baghdad was scheduled to host a 2022 World Cup qualifier against United Arab Emirates on March 24 last year but after a missile attack on Erbil 11 days before the game was to be played, the venue was switched to Saudi Arabia.

A successful Gulf Cup could bring about meaningful change.

“It is a step forward to retain Iraq’s normal position in the fields of sport, culture and society,” Basra Governor Asaad Al Eidani said. “It is a message to the whole world that we are capable.”

Iraq Prime Minister Mohamed Shia al-Sudani stressed the importance of the event after a visit to Basra to review facilities in December when he called on organizers to present Iraq in the best possible light.

Iraqi Football Association official Haider Aufi wants Iraq to draw inspiration from Qatar’s hosting of the World Cup in November and December.

“Sports has become one of the most important activities in the world . . . of transmitting cultures and civilizations through hosting tournaments and competitions, and this is what we witnessed in Qatar’s organization of the 2022 World Cup,” Aufi said.

While Qatar may be the model as a host of football’s biggest tournament, Iraq wants to avoid its on-field example. Qatar lost all three games to become the first World Cup host to fail to collect a single point.

Felix Sanchez, who became coach in 2017 and led the team to the 2019 Asian Cup title, left the post after his contract ended last week.

While the QFA searches for a long-term replacement for the Spaniard, Portuguese coach Bruno Pinheiro is in charge temporarily and preparing for Group B games against defending champion Bahrain, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates. Iraq is in Group A with Saudi Arabia, Oman and Yemen.

Two stadiums will be used, including the new 30,000 seat Al-Minaa Olympic Stadium.

The top two teams from each group progress to the semifinals. The final will be played on Jan. 19.

Related Articles

Arab Press
Tesla reported record profits and record revenues for 2022
Germany confirms it will provide Ukraine with Leopard 2 tanks
Prince Andrew and Virginia Giuffre Photo Is Fake: Ghislaine Maxwell
Opinion | Israel’s Supreme Court Claims a Veto on Democracy
Moonwalker Buzz Aldrin Gets Married On His 93rd Birthday
Who’s Threatening Israeli Democracy?
Federal Reserve Probes Goldman’s Consumer Business
China's first population drop in six decades
Microsoft is finalising plans to become the latest technology giant to reduce its workforce during a global economic slowdown
Saudi FM discusses Kingdom’s economy, oil, Iran and US ties in Davos
Israelis rally in three cities against Netanyahu legal reforms
China's foreign ministry branch in Hong Kong urges British gov't to stop the biased and double standards Hong Kong report
Tesla slashes prices globally by as much as 20 percent
1.4 Million Copies Of Prince Harry's Memoir 'Spare' Sold On 1st Day In UK
After Failing To Pay Office Rent, Twitter May Sell User Names
Lisa Marie Presley, singer and daughter of Elvis, dies aged 54
FIFA president questioned by prosecutors
Britain's Sunak breaks silence and admits using private healthcare
Saudi Arabia plans to use domestic uranium for nuclear fuel
Mohammed Bin Salman chosen most influential Arab leader of 2022
Dirty bomb fears as URANIUM is found in cargo at Heathrow
Hype and backlash as Harry's memoir goes on sale. Unnamed royal source says prince 'kidnapped by cult of psychotherapy and Meghan'
United Arab Emirates says it will teach Holocaust in schools
Saudi Arabia set to overtake India as fastest-growing major economy this year 
International medical experts speak out against COVID-19 restrictions on China
Google and Facebook’s dominance in digital ads challenged by rapid ascent of Amazon and TikTok
FTX fraud investigators are digging deeper into Sam Bankman-Fried's inner circle – and reportedly have ex-engineer Nishad Singh in their sights
TikTok CEO Plans to Meet European Union Regulators
Japan reportedly to give families 1 million yen per child to move out of Tokyo
Saudi Arabia’s female ambassadors: Who are the five women representing the Kingdom?
Almubarak named ‘The Best Central Bank Governor of the Year 2023 for the Middle East’
Will Canada ever become a real democracy?
Hong Kong property brokerages slash payrolls in choppy market
U.S. Moves to Seize Robinhood Shares, Silvergate Accounts Tied to FTX
Effect of EU sanctions on Moscow is ‘less than zero’ – Belgian MEP
Dubai announces $8.7 trillion economic plan to boost trade, investment and global hub status
Coinbase to Pay $100 Million in Settlement With New York Regulator
FTX assets worth $3.5bn held by Bahamas securities regulator
A Republican congressman-elect is under investigation in New York after he admitted he lied about his education and work experience.
Brazilian football legend Pele, arguably the greatest player ever, has died at the age of 82.
Hong Kong to scrap almost all its Covid rules
EU calls screening of travellers from China unjustified
US imposes Covid testing for visitors from China
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy Addresses Joint Session of Congress - FULL SPEECH
Where is Rishi? Chancellor Jeremy Hunt's excuses about the UK's economic challenges just don't make sense
Former FTX CEO Bankman-Fried finally arrested in Bahamas after U.S. files charges
Corruption works: House Financial Services Chair Waters doesn't plan to subpoena her donor, Sam Bankman-Fried, to testify at hearing on FTX collapse
Ronaldo's new contract...
Prince William's godmother resigns honorary royal role after exposing her/their racism
Tax fraud verdict again exposes illusion of Trump the master businessman