Iraqi football team arrives in West Bank for friendly match with Palestine
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Iraq’s national team arrived on Friday in the West Bank for a friendly international match against the Palestinian national team at the Faisal Husseini Stadium in Ram on the outskirts of Ramallah.
It is scheduled to start on Saturday afternoon at 14:00 GMT with thousands of Palestinian fans expected to pack into a stadium that rarely hosts live international matches, according to Reuters. In the summer of 2009, the Palestinian team traveled to Baghdad to compete in a friendly match in the Iraqi national team's first international home game since the fall of the regime of Saddam Hussein in 2003.
Saturday will mark the Iraqi team's first trip to the Palestinian territories. They crossed from Jordan into the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
“This meeting certainly proves the brotherhood and bond between the two Arab nations - Iraqi and Palestinian - and I feel our presence is more important than the result,” Iraqi national team coach Basim Qasim told a pre-match news conference.
“We are carrying out our obligation to be here with our brothers here in Palestine,” he said.
Qasim’s contract with Iraqi national team expires next month. He stated that he wanted to continue as coach and hoped the Iraqi Football Association would renew or extend his contract.
In the coming months, Iraq has a match against Uzbekistan in September and South Korea in October.
Editing by John J. Catherine