Kurdistan Regional Government
FRI, 19 APR 2019 01:26 Erbil, GMT +3

Kurdistan football team competes abroad

THU, 10 JUL 2008 13:30 | Kurdish Globe

The Kurdistan Regional Government has sent Kurdish football players to the VIVA World Cup in Sweden.

For nations unable to compete in the FIFA World Cup, they have been given an opportunity to take part in a different international football tournament: the 2008 VIVA World Cup. The Kurdistan Football Team is one of the nations represented there.

In its first match on Monday, Kurdistan drew 2-all with Samiland, the Sami people’s homeland that straddles Sweden, Norway, Finland and Russia. The women’s team will play Samiland today.

The VIVA World Cup, held every two years, is organised by the New Federation Board, an umbrella association for nations unaffiliated with FIFA.

Salam Hussen, Kurdistan Football Association secretary, spoke to the Kurdish Globe about the Kurdistan national team is participating in the VIVA World Cup in Sweden this month.

"After making several attempts, attending a meeting of the New Federation Board in June 2006 and again in 2008, we formed a team representing Iraqi Kurdistan and became a competing team at the 2008 VIVA World Cup," Hussen said.

He explained that the Sport and Youth Ministry of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) is paying the team’s costs, and stated his appreciation for Muhammed Sadeeq, advisor to the Sport and Youth Minister Taha Barwary, for the positive role he played in securing the Kurdistan team's spot in the VIVA World Cup.

The VIVA World Cup is being played in the Swedish town of Gallivare in Sampi from July 7th to 13th. Five teams will participate in the men’s tournament, and interest is being shown in women’s matches.

"The teams taking part in the men's tournament are hosts Sampi from Sweden, Padania from Italy, Provence from France, and Iraqi Kurdistan Region and Bethnahrain from Iraq," Hussen said. A Kurdistan women's team will play in a women's tournament against Sampi, he added.

He encouraged Kurds to support the team and subscribe to the view that playing in the VIVA World Cup might gain the Kurdish team a foothold in participating, maybe even continuously, at international-level competitions.

The first Kurdistan football team was founded in 1970; however, due to the political and security situation, its participation in competitions was limited.

"We do not know to what degree we will play successfully; we have to do our utmost to show what we can do and hope the results go our way," said Abdulqadir Shahoyee, assistant to the Kurdistan team's coach, adding: "The players are selected from Kurdistan League club players and those living abroad."

Shahoyee explained that the team coach is the Peris Club (a Kurdish club) trainer who could not call up the Erbil and Duhok players because they are to play in the Iraqi League, which is scheduled to begin very soon.

"Didar Hamid, the Iraqi national team goalkeeper, Halgurd Mala Muhammed, and Hoshmand Jalal, the top scorer in the Kurdistan League last year, are those expected to compile records for the Kurdistan team.

VIVA World Cup website

Kurdistan team players

Men’s and women’s fixtures and results

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