First the country started to break apart; now the soccer team has officially dissolved. After losing 1-0 to Qatar on Sunday, the Iraqis failed to qualify for the last leg of the 2010 World Cup qualifying stages. The Iraqi government and soccer federation canceled its soccer team and fired the coach Adnan Haman. Iraq will not participate in the Asian Championships and failed to qualify for the next World Cup. The Iraq team is the defending Asian Champions.
The Iraqi team only needed a draw to advance to the final qualifying stage for the World Cup, which was predicted considering they qualified for the World Cup in 2006. The team’s performance in 2006 and its winning the Asian Championships, helped strengthen the country and served as a real bright spot for the Iraqi people. After the World Cup, Iraqi athletes have been kidnapped and murdered, and the team has been forced to train outside the country. The soccer team has not had a match in over a year until entering qualifying.
Iraq has been in constant turmoil and the government has been fighting with the IFA and International Olympic Committee and just about every soccer federation. The decision to dissolve the soccer team came after the poor showing in qualifying and the constant fighting the government is doing regarding participation in athletic events.
Iraq did not cooperate with the International Olympic Committee and withdrew from the Iraqi Olympic Committee, Team members and Iraqi Olympic managers stated that the International Olympic Committee was “corrupt.” The response by the IOC was to ban the entire Iraqi national Olympic body for “political interference.”
The soccer team was allowed to continue to train, despite being outside of the country in neighboring UAE and Qatar. The team was doing well and did not even think that with one loss they would be done playing international futbol for an indefinite amount of time.
With the loss to rival Qatar this past Sunday, the team lost a chance at participating in the 2010 world cup, and in the Olympics. With the drama and war going on in Iraq at the moment nobody has even mentioned when the government will negotiate with the Olympic committee and get on good terms.
Anything is possible in Iraq now and nobody dares to challenge the government and individuals in charge of making these decisions. The break up of the fabled soccer team, a team that brought such pride and joy to the country only years ago, shows how the country is slowly falling apart. The government cannot get along with the International Olympic Committee; much less it’s own citizens.