US should have dropped footballs on Iraq: Stange

29th June 2005, Comments 0 comments

29 June 2005, HAMBURG - Former Iraq football coach Bernd Stange said in an interview the United States could have done a lot of good in the war-torn country - if they had dropped footballs instead of bombs.

29 June 2005

HAMBURG - Former Iraq football coach Bernd Stange said in an interview the United States could have done a lot of good in the war-torn country  - if they had dropped footballs instead of bombs.

"I thought the Americans would perhaps send a plane with footballs and football shirts instead of bombs, but that never happened," the German Stange told Stern magazine in an interview made available ahead of Thursday's publication.

Stange said that football was the "only sport that unites all Iraqis. The national team consisted of Sunnites, Shiites, a Christian and a Turkmene but that was not important at all," he said.

Stange quit the Iraq job in July 2004 fearing for his personal safety in the unstable country.

"I would have probably made myself immortal in Iraq football if we had qualified for the World Cup. But I would have likely not survived," said Stange, saying he had a lucky escape in an attack by masked men once during his reign there.

Stange, the last coach of former East Germany who now trains Cyprus club Apollon Limassol, also dismissed claims he had supported then Iraq president Saddam Hussein by taking the football job.

"No one in Germany would have made Sepp Herberger responsible for the atrocities of the Nazis because he signed his contract as national team coach in 1938 during Hitler's reign," Stange said.

DPA

Subject: German news

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