Monday, August 06, 2007

Iraqi insurgents break ranks over Asian Cup title and other soccer news

It looks like the newest battle in Iraq's civil war has to do with their country's spectacular win in the Asian Cup as an insurgent group called Hamas al-Iraq has congratulated the team on their success.
"Hamas al-Iraq congratulates the Iraqi people on the occasion of our national team's winning the Asian Cup for 2007," the Sunni Muslim militant group said in a statement posted on a Web site used by al Qaeda and other insurgents.
The response to this web posting was swift as a supporter of the Islamic State in Iraq insurgent group wrote, "We urge the administrators to remove this shameful statement which infringes on the status of the Web site... May God punish those who let down our mujahideen brothers of the Islamic State in Iraq."

Sports stars in Iraq are regular targets for insurgents, as seen in June when 'the decomposed remains of at least 13 Iraqi martial arts stars were found in a ditch in Anbar province. The taekwondo squad had been kidnapped on their way to Jordan.'

In other soccer news, Anthony Lyons is trying to solve the homeless problem in Gainesville, FL, by using soccer. His plan is to get team up and running in time to participate in a national homeless soccer tournament in Washington, D.C., in the spring. He hopes this team will see the same sort of results other homeless teams have seen across the globe. After the 2005 Homeless World Cup, 77% of players went on to make improvements in their lives. Also, a team in Charlotte, NC, saw 14 of their 23 players from homes, five have found jobs, three have addressed mental disabilities and two have completed drug treatment programs, according to the team's Web site.

If you are looking to shade some pounds, soccer is a great way to do it. "An Italian study found that soccer players in a 30-minute pickup game exercised above 70 percent of their maximum heart rate 91 percent of the time. Their heart rates stayed elevated even when they weren't running as hard because they were constantly changing direction."

Finally, the Germans out do themselves again. After a beer tap failed to work on a train carrying a team's fans to a match, Germany's national railway halted the train for 25-minutes so a replacement tap could be delivered and installed. The train and the fans then continued on.

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