Al Khatib, a war-torn Syrian footballer



Wed, 04 Oct 2017 - 08:29 GMT


Wed, 04 Oct 2017 - 08:29 GMT

Firas El Khatib, YouTube

Firas El Khatib, YouTube

CAIRO – 04 October 2017 : Syrians were shocked when news was out from the Syrian national team’s camp in May 2017 about the former Syrian captain, Firas Al Khatib, will rejoin the national team for the 2018 World Cup qualifiers to end five years of boycott.

Firas El Khatib, born in Homs, is the Syrian footballer with the highest reputation. He started playing for the Syrian national team when he was just 18 after he shined with his hometown club, Al-Karamah.

El Khatib was the pride of the Syrian nation throughout his career with the national team and he was one of the most successful Syrian players abroad when he left Syria to play in Kuwait with their giants, Al Arabi.

El Khatib enjoyed wearing his national team jersey, defending his country flag with his teams, but following the Syrian Revolution in 2011, he was forced to make the hardest decision.

Firas El Khatib with Syrian national team in 2011, Twitters

Homs, the de facto capital of the Syrian Revolution, was the first city to suffer from the ensuing civil war. The fight started between the Syrian army and the revolution supporters, which made the situation disastrous. El Khatib decided not to wear the national team jersey again and wore the revolution flag.

El Khatib left his country, his family and his jersey in the national team for six years, but he kept his place in Syrians’ hearts regardless of their position, and the Syrian national team board tried to constantly return El Khatib to the national team.

Syria surprised the world at the 2018 World Cup qualifiers when their national team competed against first-class teams in Asia, despite all the difficulties. The Syrian national team was so close to qualifiying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, so they asked for support from all Syrians — and their request found a response from El Khatib.

El Khatib announced that he will rejoin the national team to help them make it to the World Cup. He missed his country, his family and his team, and that was his time to return.

Firas El Khatib, Youtube

El Khatib’s return to the Syrian national team brought joy to the Syrian camp, and the team readied itself to make history.

Syria faced South Korea in Seoul with El Khatib on the bench. South Korea scored after four minutes, and it was time for El Khatib to play.

El Khatib returned to the National team against South Korea, youtub

El Khatib participated in the second half, adding value to the offense. He had many chances, but he was unlucky and didn’t score.

El Khatib succeeded to lead his national team to the fourth round; they face Australia in two games to decide who will play the inter-confederation playoffs.

Firas El Khatib suffered like his nation, and his decisions were always criticized, but he is just a football player who follows his heart.



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