11 August 2007

Lesson from Iraqi Champions

Less than a month ago the Iraqi football (soccer) team became the Champions of Asia Football Championship (AFC) which was held in South East Asia this time. In the grand final Iraqis defeated Arab Saudi by 1:0. Perhaps this alone does not tell the whole story so let’s take a look what we can learn from Iraqi experience.

The lesson lies in the facts on how a team of players who previously would not even train together because they come from different ethnic or religious background. A team from a country torn by conflict and suffering. A team who could not train in their own country because of the death threats. A team who could not train together because players were forbidden to do so by their clubs. A team that had to go to the neighboring country to do the training. A team who had to wait for hours because their hotel rooms were not ready during the exhausting championship. A team who was barely able to come with financial funding to go the AFC 2007. A team which didn’t even have new uniforms

Yet in the end after all the hardship, they are the AFC 2007 champions. How is that possible? It happened, it is there, it is true. All this is possible when a team unites under single purpose, single goal, single dream … to excel, to be number one, for the pride of the nation.

Now what we hope or at least I hope is that the glory of the Iraqi champions will spread and reach their home land. That it will become a cooling breeze in the heat of the conflict. That will unite all Iraqi people and they will stand together, put aside their difference and start to rebuild the glory or their country. Standing proud as Iraqi people under single banner, the Iraqi banner.

How about us? How come that our team that did not have to go through all that hardship did not prevail? We should be grateful that we can live in peace. But living in peace does not mean we can just sit back, relax and only ‘think’ that we can be champions of anything. Anything at all.

Becoming champions takes hard work, commitment, the power of will, belief, dream. Only those who can believe, who can dream of becoming champions and are willing to put the effort in fulfilling that dream have the chance to become champions and masters of their destiny.

Iraqi champions proved to us that they can do it and I believe that we the people of Indonesia do not have any excuse why we can not achieve the same and more. Will there be a day in history when we can look up at the banner of red and white with pride and honour? I believe so and if you believe the same, share your believes with everyone you know because only than it can happen.

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