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Iraq is planning to host Gulf Cup soccer event

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Jan 27, 2021

BAGHDAD — Iraq’s nationwide soccer group defeated Kuwait 2-1 on Jan. 27 in a global pleasant match at Al-Nakhlah stadium within the Iraqi province of Basra.

Now Iraq is hoping it would win closing approval to host the upcoming 25th version of the Arab Gulf Cup event.

The Jan. 27 contest got here as the groups put together for matches that can assist decide Asia’s illustration for the 2022 World Cup and the 2023 Asian Football Confederation Asian Cup.

The solely earlier time Iraq hosted the Gulf Cup was in 1979, additionally the primary 12 months that Iraq received the competitors. It additionally received in 1984 and 1988.

The match in Basra was a step towards gaining the Arab Gulf Cup Football Federation’s belief for internet hosting the cup, in response to the Iraqi minister of youth and sport, Adnan Dirjal. He was internet hosting a particular delegation from the eight-nation federation to examine Sports City in Basra.

“The delegation, which is able to attend the pleasant match between Iraq and Kuwait at Basra International Stadium, will assessment the progress of labor on Sports City tasks and guarantee their readiness,” Dirjal stated.

“Iraq and Kuwait are ready in particular to play a significant role in the upcoming cup,” Dirjal added. Kuwait has received 10 titles, however the final got here in 2010.

The two groups have met 40 occasions of their historical past, with the Iraqi group successful 17 occasions, the Kuwaiti group 14 occasions and 9 ties; Iraq has scored 53 targets to Kuwait’s 44.

The minister of youth and sport, who was a nationwide soccer star and nationwide group coach, has launched a lot of campaigns just lately, together with a bicycling competitors, opening small stadiums in liberated areas and distant areas and even opening golf programs. The majority of those tasks have been performed with the cooperation of personal corporations and businesspeople. This is a brand new approach in coping with sports activities in Iraq.

Dirjal, who was a member of varied Iraqi League championship groups and of the three Iraqi Gulf Cup event winners, is well-liked and was accredited because the minister of youth and sports activities primarily primarily based on his sports activities achievements slightly than his political expertise, which he was brief on.

“Not all ministers are available but our doors are always open,” Dirjal stated at a Jan. 10 press convention with international reporters in Baghdad that Al-Monitor attended.

“When I came to the office, the ministry was almost idle and not working,” Dirjal stated. “Additionally, economic crisis and the pandemic have become a big challenge for us to work.”

However, the ministry arrange an emergency plan to speak with Iraq youths by way of media and on-line platforms. “We had several training programs run by the ministry in our radio stations, TV channels and social platforms,” he stated. 

“The youth responded positively,” Dirjal stated.

The sports activities sector is significant for Iraq, which has a really massive youth cohort, however acquired little or no consideration resulting from different priorities comparable to safety and the financial system.

The sports activities sector in Iraq had change into almost restricted to soccer, however even it acquired little assist from the federal government when it comes to constructing fashionable stadiums, coaching and in different areas.  

In an interview with Al-Monitor, Dirjal stated he has constructed a cooperation community with different ministries comparable to these coping with oil and finance to hunt their assist and in addition with businesspeople and firms to get the sports activities sector shifting ahead.

“We have renewed 16 stadiums during the second half of last year, including Al-Minaa stadium, Nasariyah stadium, Samawah stadium, Kirkuk stadium, Al-Zawra stadium, Al-Madaniya stadium, Anbar stadium, Salahuddin stadium,” Dirjal said, “There are 110 other projects as well underway, and we are planning to complete most of them this year.”

The ministry is engaged on the completion of the multisport Arena Hall and the Baghdad Sport Hospital, along with Ninevah and Diyala stadiums through the first half of this 12 months.

The ministry is also concerned within the renovation of the Shatt al-Arab resort — 80% of the work has been accomplished — which is to be used for the Arab Gulf Cup. The cup is to happen starting in December, or presumably early subsequent 12 months.

The ministry is going through many challenges, not solely financially, but additionally structurally. Dirjal has fashioned a committee to reform the construction and drawing insurance policies and rules for sports activities federations and golf equipment. It can also be engaged on reforming Olympic and Paralympic committee legislation, the ministry of youth and sports activities legislation, the sporting champions and pioneers legislation.

“Youth are our future,” Dirjal stated, “today’s investment will be our future wealth”.

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