Syria coach questions silence for Paris attacks

2015-11-17 19:54
Soccer ball (File)

Singapore - Syria's football coach courted controversy on Tuesday when he questioned the moment's silence for victims of the Paris attacks held before his team's 2-1 World Cup qualifying win over Singapore.

Coach Fajr Ibrahim, who had worn a T-shirt picturing President Bashar al-Assad at the pre-match press conference, said similar commemorations were not held for those killed in ongoing violence in Syria.

"We stand now 30 seconds for French, but all Syrian people killed, no one stand one second, you have to know this," Ibrahim told reporters in broken English after the game at Singapore's National Stadium.

"We fight all terrorists. We fight all terrorist groups, Syria fight all terrorist groups... we kill all terrorists around the world," he added.

The two teams stood silently for 34 seconds, in a scene repeated at qualifiers around the region after the attacks at a concert hall, cafes and Paris's Stade de France football stadium killed 129.

The direction for a "moment of silence" had come from the Asian Football Confederation, whose president, FIFA hopeful Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, called the attacks "heinous acts".

"Today we stand shoulder to shoulder with everyone across the world who condemns and has been outraged by these attacks," the Bahraini said in a statement.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said the attacks in Paris were organised from Syria, where French warplanes are pounding Islamic State militants.

Syria beat 10-man Singapore thanks to a double from Omar Kharbin, who scored the winner with virtually the last kick of the game -- a result which cemented second spot in Group E, and left Ibrahim jubilant.

"This game, this win, is meant for my Syrian people to make our people in my country, Syria, happy, that's very important. Also this is for our president Bashar al-Assad," he said.

The win comes a day after Ibrahim and midfielder Osama Omari addressed the pre-match media conference wearing white T-shirts with a large photo of the embattled Assad, calling him "the best man in the world".

"This is our president Bashar al-Assad, whom we are so proud of because this man fights against terrorists of the world, and he fights for you also," said Ibrahim, according to local media.

Read more on:    singapore  |  syria  |  soccer


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