Win over Azkals morale-booster for war-torn Yemen
They may be dealing with crisis back in their country, but that didn’t stop the Yemenis from upholding their pride in the international sports competitions.
Yemen on Thursday finally found the breakthrough it was looking for, upsetting Philippines, 1-0 for its first win in the 2016 Fifa World Cup qualifiers at Rizal Memorial Stadium.
Coach Amin Al-Sunaini acknowledged the contrast in this match compared to the two teams’ meeting back in June in Qatar, where the Philippines scored a 2-0 victory.
“The first match in Qatar, the team had a hard time preparing. As you know, our country was in a difficult situation. We couldn’t prepare quite well,” he said.
“I think today, the players improved during that period. We’re just looking to get points in our last two matches.”
The huge triumph over the Philippine side is a shot in the arm for Yemenis back home, most of whom are still following their football team’s progress despite the conditions.
“I’m sure most of them are firm with their team even with (our country’s) situation. They still follow their team,” said Al-Sunaini.
“I’m quite sure that everybody’s happy (back home), and I’m happy because these players sacrificed a lot during this crisis in Yemen (just to play),” he said.
Already eliminated in Group H after incurring defeats in all of its first five matches, Yemen broke the hearts of the 6,478 in attendance and dashed the Philippines’ hopes of finishing first place on the group after Ahmed Al-Sarori scored on a ground ball, beating two defenders to nail the lone goal at the 83rd minute.
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