Sep 12th, 2017, 09:58 PM

Syrian National Team to Qualify for World Cup

By Anabel Bachour
Image Credit: Fendi
Politics aside, all Syrians come together to support their team.

On August 22nd, the Syrian National Team beat the Malaysian National Team with a score 2-1. Raising more eyebrows, on August 31st, Syria took the lead against Qatar with a 3-1 score. These matches qualified Syria to compete against the Iranian National Team in the qualification third stage of matches. This match ended in a draw 2-2, but the Syrian National Team didn't go down without a fight - the final goal was scored in the 93rd minute in overtime. These events have led to the United feelings of Syrians all around the world. In the past six years, all the news the world has heard about Syria is disheartening and depressive. Now, thanks to soccer, Syrians have a reason to unite and cheer for the same team. 

What is the Football World Cup? 

June 2018 will mark the beginning of the Football World Cup 2018, which will take place in Moscow, Russia. Big countries like France, Italy, and Spain are competing in this soccer cup, as these nations do every four years. New to the game is the Syrian National Football Team. Never before has Syria been seen competing in the World Cup, and this year they might have a chance to compete in Moscow. This is an exceptional accomplishment as Syria has been involved in a war for almost six years now. Aside from war, destruction, and ISIS, the Syrian team is doing its best and putting all of their efforts in the game in order to get qualified for the World Cup 2018.  Aside from soccer fame, the qualification can prove that life does not stop during wars. 

Image Credit: Fendi

How are Syrians reacting to the news? 

Although not such a fan of sports myself, this story really intrigued my interests - as I am Syrian. I spoke to other Syrians and see what they thought of the football matches.

Ghaith Kabbani, a 20 years old student who lives in the Netherlands, said he started following football ever since he knew our team would be participating in it. " When we scored the first goal I thought this is it, we defeated them. However, because of our weak dispersed defense, they were able to score 2 goals, which would’ve disqualified us. I thought it was over until Omar Souma scored a goal during the extra time (minute 93)"

Ghaith continued on about the positivity the game brought to every Syrian citizen. He said that, most importantly, it brought happiness to a population that has been suffering from sadness and sorrow for the past 6 years. "Our population, regardless of their religion, identity, and political opinion were all united and were all cheering for the same team who has a huge diversity of all." 

Image Credit: Fendi

Mohamed Jabur is a Syrian AUP student who has been interested in sports for a long time (before he left Syria) thought the last match (Syria vs. Iran) was really good and it brought a positive vibe to every Syrian at home or abroad.

"I would say this incident united us, it brought happiness into our hearts. Playing the world cup would definitely unit us, as a population with different opinions and religious backgrounds. if we ever play the main match, it would be a historical event for the Syrian population since we have never played the world cup."

However, Mohamed was not overwhelmed with this positivity, he surely liked the game, yet , this unity for sports could not be the solution for the crisis Syria is witnessing. "I don’t think it could unit us to the point where we forget everything that has happened to Syria. The past six years will not simply be forgotten because of a football game. We, as a population have been through lots of pain for the past six years. Our lives were filled with sorrow, destruction, sadness, moving, and of course,  immigration. This game did bring a lot of happiness into our hearts, and that is great, and although it brings positivity into our lives and minds. I don’t personally think that a football match will solve the whole Syrian crisis."   

Syrian football game.

When is the next match? 

The next game will take time on October 5th, at 11 AM, Parisian time, and you can watch it on Al-Jazeera beIn. If you are interested in watching the highlights of previous matches, you can find them here. The only thing left to do is cheer as loud as we can when Syria goes head to head with Australia in early October.

-Syria vs. Iran 

-Syria vs. Qatar