Iraq United - Audio Documentary - BBC Radio 4 via DVB-T
1 x 30 Minute Episode - 128Kbps - Mp3 - Slimoo
Hugh Sykes follows the Iraqi football team as they hope to unite their country through football.
In 2007, the team surprised the world by winning the Asian Cup. Thousands celebrated, religious differences were forgotten and a football team united a troubled country. It qualified them for the Confederations Cup in South Africa, a competition that brings together the best teams in the world, including Spain, Italy and Brazil.
Hugh, who has been reporting from Iraq for the past six years, follows the team and their supporters as they compete in Africa's first international football competition. Travelling with the team and supporters as Iraq take on the likes of Spain, Hugh learns the importance of football to Iraqis as a reminder of days past, before sectarianism ripped the country apart.
The team has lost loved ones and faced death threats, but survived the years of abuse and torture they suffered at the hands of Uday Hussein, the eldest son of Saddam who took direct control of the team for a time. After a series of coaching changes and poor performances, the team now faces its biggest test as it hopes to show the world that Iraq remains united, and not only in football.