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Young Iraqi Man Living at the US Reflecting on Gulf Cup 25

Young Iraqi Man Living at the US Reflecting on Gulf Cup 25  
Fadi Youkhanna (PhD Student)
After emotions, nerves and excitement have calmed down, I am able to write this post to reflect on what yesterday meant for Iraq. Yesterday, Iraq defeated Oman to win the 25th edition of the Gulf Cup and to win on home tournament for the first time since 1979. It was a moment of sporting history that will be forever etched in our hearts. This was about pride and competition. It was about playing for your people and not for money or fame. Bravo
As children, we grew up on the legends of
عدنان درجال , احمد راضي , عمو بابا , حسين سعيد , رعد حمودي
My generation was not fortunate enough to see the country qualify for its only ever WC appearance in ’86. But we have witnessed many memorable moments:
1- Winning the group and defeating Portugal, placing 4th in the 2004 olympics
2- Beating SK in penalties, SA in the final and winning the Asian Cup in 2007
3- Winning the group and placing 4th in the U20 World Cup in 2013
Yesterday was different. Yesterday was in Basra, Iraq. The picture below is not of Bernabeu, Old Trafford, Allianz or Le Parc De Princes, but a stadium in Iraq. The cradle of civilizations. Home to the most proud, generous and kind people. Bad actors with many names, backgrounds and motives have tried to divide, commit genocide, eliminate and erase Iraq and its people. But no matter where you reside or what citizenship you carry, you will never forget your roots. And yesterday your roots gave you something to smile about.
Yesterday was a moment of unity. Look up the scenes during the game where thousands chanted and cried for a bunch of young kids who made us proud. Even if for a brief moment, Iraq will be known for sports excellence and not for corruption, war, violence and misery. The country has had dictators, corrupt politicians, religious zealotry and hardship for the past 40 years. But for now, stand up Iraqis, hold up your heads, celebrate these great young men who carried the entire country on their shoulders and gave us a reason to unify and celebrate. When ماجد sang the national anthem, bent down and kissed the ground, thousands of people in the stadium and millions abroad cried with him.
Perhaps when the team attempts to qualify for the 2026 WC, they will play at home in front of their fans and family. Thank you to all the players and the organization team. Thank you to coach Jesus Casas. You have entered into the hearts of millions to join Vieira as honorary locals. We look forward to your next accomplishments.
كفيتو ووفيتو يا ابطال من زاخو الى البصرة رفعتو راسنا

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