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Friday 27 January 2012

Book of the Month – When Friday Comes Football in the War Zone by James Montague – Chapter Nine – West Asian Championships

    An international tournament turned political minefield; played in Jordan, an island of diplomacy in a tense sea of conflict. Third time the charm with the Iraqi national team – tales of Tae Kwon Do, Uday, and loss; grim perseverance and enduring hope the mantra.

    La Liga concludes with joyous, unbalanced reception; Golden Balls featured; unintended contraband, a hurried snack, and some quality time with Patrick Swayze.

    Honey; still fighting the good fight; forlorn with its pressing weight.

    Divided countries unified on the pitch – politics and religion set aside for ninety minutes; give or take. Splits still evident, but forcefully made invisible.

    Initiation; accepted by the squad through interpretive dance as the bus jigs through the streets of Amman, driven by laughter.

    The Iraqi Diaspora in full voice; the competition closes much as it had begun; diplomatic goalless draws turn to consolatory losses.

    Current disappointments, fast-forwarded to future celebration, and back again. The difference a few weeks and several thousand kilometres can make.

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