Iraqi players say their win is a message to leaders

Asian Cup champions Iraq flew out of Dubai yesterday morning for Amman, Jordan, after “a show of Arab unity” in the United Arab Emirates city which hosted a special party to honour them. The Iraqi team ,was awarded a cash prize of US$5.2 million by UAE vice-President and Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. “It's a big honour to celebrate the team's victory in the UAE,” Hussein Saeed, Chairman of the Iraqi Football Federation, said at the reception where more than 5,000 welcomed the team.

“This could well be the start of a trend with world leaders beginning to think more about restoring peace in Iraq," Iraqi midfielder Haitham Kazim said. “Our victory has sent a message to the whole world to come together and end the pains of Iraqi people. I don't know who is Shia, Sunni or Kurdish in our team. All we know is that we are Iraqis. We were born so and we will remain so.” Echoing the sentiments, his team mate Haider Abdul Raziq said: “We will go back to Baghdad and nobody will stop us from conveying our message to the leaders of different political parties and sectors and the time has come to stop killing each other.”