Monday, July 30, 2007

Iraq captain fears death,injury, if he returns home

Iraq captain Younis Mahmoud clims he cannot return to Iraq because of risk to his life by sectarian violence. Mahmoud, a Sunni, climbed to head a perfectly-weighted corner from Hawar Mulla Mohammed, a Kurd, into the net to win the Asian Cup for Iraq for the first time. But after the game, Mahmoud, who was named player of the tournament, said one of the tragedies of the war was that the team would not even be able to return to Iraq with the trophy. "I don't want the Iraqi people to be angry with me," he said. "[But] if I go back with the team, anybody could kill me or try to hurt me," he told media.

Like the rest of the team wore black armbands to remember the dozens killed by car-bombers following the side's semi-final victory over South Korea on Wednesday, Mahmoud said one of the victims had been a small child. "His mother said when her child was killed in front of her, she didn't cry. She said, 'I present my son as a sacrifice for the national team'. Then we had to win," he said. However he then described the USA's United Nation's endorsed presence in his homeland as a problem. "I want America to go out. Today, tomorrow, or the day after tomorrow, but out. I wish the American people didn't invade Iraq and hopefully it will be over soon," he said.

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