Asian Cup: We are ambassadors for Palestine, says coach Daboub ahead of Iran game

Squad believe they have a big responsibility to deliver a message for the whole world in this tournament

By AFP

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Palestine's Tunisian coach Makram Daboub (C) instructs his players during a training session in the Qatari capital. - AFP
Palestine's Tunisian coach Makram Daboub (C) instructs his players during a training session in the Qatari capital. - AFP

Published: Sat 13 Jan 2024, 4:09 PM

The Palestinian squad at the Asian Cup are finding it very hard to focus due to the conflict in Gaza, coach Makram Daboub said on Saturday, but he added that their presence at the tournament should remind the world that "Palestine exists".

"Keeping focused, honestly, is difficult because most of the time the players are focusing on news after training or before it, even on the bus while going to training," Daboub told reporters ahead of their group opener against Iran on Sunday.

"Everyone is focused on the news and what is happening, but even with that... there is a message that we need to deliver to the whole world. We have a big responsibility that we are the ambassadors for Palestinian soccer, for Palestine.

Palestine coach Makram Daboub during training. - Reuters
Palestine coach Makram Daboub during training. - Reuters

"The Palestinian people deserve a better life and they deserve freedom. Through the matches, our presence and what we will deliver in this tournament should be a message for the whole world that Palestine exists."

The team's captain Musab Al-Battat said stopping sporting activity in Gaza for the past three months had had negative consequences on the players, who have had training camps outside the region due to the conflict.

He also hoped their presence at the Asian Cup would deliver a message to the world.

"As Palestinian players, we have a message that we can deliver to the whole world and that is the Palestinian team and state is a country like all others that has the right to participate and be part of any tournament anywhere," he said.

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"Hopefully all these circumstances will be a positive push for us as players to present the best result because our people truly deserve it and our fans deserve it."

Asian Cup

Sunday’s Fixtures

Group C

UAE vs Hong Kong (6.30 pm UAE)

Iran vs Palestine (9.30 pm UAE)

Group D

Japan vs Vietnam (3.30 pm UAE)


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