Bernd Stange, the coach of the Iraq national side has asked the international community for help in rebuilding his team.
Stange was appointed last November with a brief to take Iraq to the World Cup finals in 2006, but left left the country before the war started. The German is keen to return to his posst following the overthrow of Saddam Hussein’s regime.
“I don’t know how many of my players have survived the war, the hunger and thirst,” said Stange.
“Many of my players were from the Army Club and they had to go and fight when the coalition forces entered Iraq. What happened to them I don’t know.
“All I know is that a few officials like Hussain Saeed, Amu Baba and Raad Hammoudi have survived. I also had a chance to speak to my captain (Bassem Abbas) on Saturday.
“Things don’t look too cheerful but we have to make a start from somewhere.”
Stange confirmed that there were plans set up a match featuring representatives of the UN children’s fund UNICEF in the United Arab Emirates.
“We want to find friends who will help in re-building Iraqi football,” he added.