Iraq announced on Wednesday (9th January, 2013) that the country is all set for hosting the 2015 Gulf Cup of Nations, with some new facilities almost prepared for the first football tournament, which is about be held in Iraq since the US-led invasion in the year 2003.
This year’s tournament is at present being held in Manama, which was scheduled to take place in the southern Iraqi city Basra. It was shifted because of the security concerns, but the Iraqis believed and so expressed that the decision was politically motivated.
Essam al-Diwan, the deputy sports minister said in Manama that the safety and security will be highly ensured. He also said that they will work hard in organizing the best Gulf Cup tournament ever to be held. He expresses his faith on the countrymen, who will help in the Gulf to back the organizers and they have also got support promises from the sports federations’ heads.
Al-Diwan stated that the new Sports City in Basra will be inaugurated in March of 2013, along with six hotels for the teams and visitors’ accommodations.
Eight teams got split into two groups, while competing in the 21st edition of the Gulf Cup of Nations in Bahrain. The tournament was initiated in 1970, but it is not officially recognized by the ruling football body, FIFA, although it has raised its own stature for becoming the major competition amidst the oil-rich region.
On Wednesday, Iraqi played against Kuwait, which was their second match in the tournament and won the match by 1 goal. In the next match Saudi Arabia defeated Yemen resulting 2 – 0.
On Sunday, Iraq confirmed three points by defeating Saudi Arabia smoothly, scoring 2 – 0.
The United Arab Emirates became the first team to qualify for the semi-finals in a dramatic 2 -1 win over the host Bahrain, on Tuesday.
Source: [Super Sport]