Syria’s national football team is in with a real chance of qualifying for the World Cup. It is an astonishing achievement for a country entering its seventh year of a bloody civil war. The team can’t play at home and many of its star players have left Syria. Other stars refuse to play because the team is funded by the Assad regime. Richard Conway has spent time with members of the squad in Damascus and the whole team in Malaysia for a qualifying match against Uzbekistan. He discovers that, for some Syrians, the country’s football team is a focus for a national pride which appears to transcend the nation’s deep and bloody divisions.
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