After an absence of 44 years an unprecedented celebration in Iraq of the "Gulf 25" teams

After an absence of 44 years an unprecedented celebration in Iraq of the "Gulf 25" teams

The city of Basra, in southern Iraq, continues an unprecedented celebration of the "Gulf 25" football teams organized by Baghdad after an absence of about 44 years.

The city of Basra, in southern Iraq, continues an unprecedented celebration of the "Gulf 25" football teams, which are organized by Baghdad after an absence of about 44 years.

The "Gulf 25" will start on Friday in Basra until January 19, with the participation of 8 teams: Iraq (the host country), Bahrain (the defending champion), Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, the Sultanate of Oman, Kuwait and Yemen.

Iraq hosted the "Arabian Gulf Cup" for the first time in 1979 and won it, and with the International Federation of Football Associations (FIFA) banned since 1999 from organizing football competitions in the country due to security conditions, Baghdad was unable to organize the tournament in 2014, before the ban was partially lifted in 2018.

With the return to hosting the "Gulf Cup" for the second time in Iraq's history, the streets and shops of Basra witnessed an unprecedented atmosphere, including Iraqi youth drawing murals bearing sports drawings and flags of the participating countries.

The flags of the participating countries also flew in most of the streets of Basra, and its roads were filled with fans from different countries in their traditional costumes, especially before the start of the opening match on Friday evening between Iraq and the Sultanate of Oman.

Short videos circulated on Twitter showing a wide welcome by Iraqis in the streets of Basra to fans from different countries of the tournament.

Video clips also circulated, bearing songs of welcome and other folkloric ones, including the title “The people of the Gulf are our brothers,” and others of Omanis singing, “O people of Basra, we (we) have reached you, the people of generosity, you (you) and we have come to you (we have come to you).”

The Iraqi public celebration was remarkable, with the arrival of the Saudi national team bus, Thursday, to the "Iqama" hotel in Basra.

Iraqis raised the Saudi flag in front of the bus and chanted songs and expressions of encouragement for the "Al-Akhdar" team, in an image that brings back the wide Arab encouragement that it won at the World Cup hosted by Qatar, especially after its defeat by the Argentine national team.

And the Iraqi Civil Aviation Authority confirmed on Friday that Basra International Airport is witnessing momentum in the flights of the coming Gulf and Arab delegations.

And this Iraqi celebration through this unprecedented atmosphere reinforced high hopes among leaders in Iraq for the success of the organization and the strengthening of Gulf cooperation with Baghdad.

Mohsen Al-Mandalawi, First Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, said in a statement: "It is necessary to show respect and reverence for the position of the people of Basra on the generous hospitality and warm welcome to the Gulf teams and fans," calling on the Iraqis to encourage all the championship teams.
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