Asian Cup: On supporting Iraqi football

From Patrick Skene, first published in the Guardian


About Patrick Skene

An Epicurean Celt interested in Sport, Culture & History.


  1. Grand article Patrick. Its much better to create positives than waste energy trying to prevent negatives – in sport and society. Negatives – greed, fear, bigotry, anger – will always be with us.
    The Asian Cup created so many positives – for football, for women, for struggling countries, for tolerance more broadly.
    I would be interested in how much Iraqi football and their Asian Cup team is reflective of the whole fractured society. You said Mahmoud was the only Sunni in the team, but later that “Shias, Sunnis, Kurds, Assyrians, Chaldeans and Mendaeans” were in the team. I don’t even know which of these labels represent religious versus cultural distinctions. Do all these cultural representatives play with (I prefer it to against) each other in the local Iraqi leagues?
    More power to your arm Patrick. Great to see you engaging and insightful writing getting a wider audience via the Guardian.

  2. Patrick_Skene says

    Thanks Peter,
    Some of the groups are religious, some are cultural groups that pre-date religion.
    When the Brits drew the map of Iraq they took none of this into account and they have been trying to get along to this day.
    There is still some work to be done blending the communities locally but when they join together they are formidable – they won both the Sydney and Melbourne Community Asian Cups.
    Great people with big hearts, often manipulated by outsiders.
    It was an honour and pleasure to work with them.

  3. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Very uplifting article Patrick. Wonderful stories and images. I remember the celebrations in Sydney Rd when Iraq won it in 2007. Many young people from treacherous journeys rejoicing freely. More please.

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