Iraq: ‘This joy is indescribable’ – Thousands celebrate national football team’s gold in Arabian Gulf Cup

Thousands of football fans gathered at Grand Festivities Square in Baghdad on Friday to celebrate the Iraqi national football team’s sensational 3-2 victory over Oman on Thursday, winning the Arabian Gulf Cup for the first time since 1988.

“This joy is indescribable. I mean, we have not been happy since 2007. This is the first joy for the Iraqis. We are full of feelings. We ask the Iraqi government to support Iraqi sport because it is the outlet for this people, and the Iraqi people have football as their true joy,” shared a local football fan Miqdad Abdullah.

The final match of the Arabian Gulf Cup went ahead despite a deadly stampede at the Basra stadium a few hours before the game.

Four people were confirmed dead and local media reports suggested around 80 people were ‘critical’ following the incident ahead of the football match.

The Arabian Gulf Cup is held every four years. Bahrain won the last tournament in 2019, and Oman won twice, in 2009 and 2017. Iraq also won in 1979, 1984 and 1988. The tournament, held in Basra, is the first major soccer tournament hosted by Iraq in more than 40 years.

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