The decision to exclude Syrian national team captain Omar Al-Souma from the official squad invited to the finals of the Asian Football Cup hosted by Qatar from January 12 to February 10 has cast a gray shadow over the expected participation. of Cassion's eagles.
The Syrian Sports Street, with its various factions, was interested in the issue of the exclusion of one of the most important players in Syria and the Arab region, but Argentina coach Hector Guber insisted on the exclusion of the Qatari Al-Arabi striker. And Mahmoud al-Mawaz, the Iraqi police striker, who, amid public surprise, threatened to quit under further pressure, was reported to have changed his mind and included both players.
This is not the first time Al-Soma (34 years old) has missed important matches for the Syrian national team, having missed international matches from 2013 to 2017. History of the team (1-0 over Iraq) December 20. (December) 2012, for political reasons.
The striker, who started his playing career with Al-Futwa, returned to the international arena in August 2017 to participate in the “Russia 2018” World Cup qualifiers, where he led the Eagles to World Cup qualification for the first time. Asian playoff (they lost to Australia) 2 – 3).
Following the exclusion decision, Al-Soma announced his international retirement and said in an interview with Qatar's Al-Qas channel that he was “surprised”. No one has contacted me for any reason other than a technical reason and I respect the coach's decision.
He added: “There was no issue between me and the coach and what was said about (Dosha) between us before the Japan match (where he lost 0-5 in the 2026 World Cup qualifiers) was not true. Before the match, he told me he would play one half, and I told him to do what suits you, but he might (apart from me) because I didn't sit on the bench after the first half.
He added: “I didn't hide the fact that I was sad. I have committed to you (Cooper) for a whole year and I am not apologizing for the national team except for one reason. If you don't invite me to such a match, when will you invite me? Therefore, I announce my retirement from international football. An irrevocable decision.”
Al-Soma vowed to be “absent from flattery and respect”. Why are you treating me like this? Before me, many (players, like) Firaz Al-Khatib (who was excluded from the 2019 Asia Cup and immediately retired) dealt with him like this, and also the captain Ziyad Shabo in 2010 (Asia Cup). Professionalism in management is very weak.
For his part, Shapo said on his Facebook account that there are two reasons for excluding a player from the national team, “the first is technical and the second is moral.”
He added: “Technically, nobody can say a word about Omar Al Soma, one of the top scorers in Asia.”
He added: “Omar is known for his humility and high morals and if he had crossed the red lines with the coach, I think that is unlikely, if he had gone out, Omar would have apologized and the issue would have been resolved. Text so that the image of the coach does not waver in front of the players.
Shapo pointed out that he had not forgotten being kicked out of the Asian Cup a week before the start “for no reason”.
In a press conference, Cooper justified the decision to exclude Al-Soma, saying he had chosen a lineup that “benefited the team” and explained that all his players were “equal”.
Al-Soma is the top goalscorer in the historic Saudi league (144) and is the sixth all-time top scorer for his country's national team (21 goals in 39 matches), tied with Omar Garbin for fifth behind Shapo.
Despite public anger at the exclusion of the “icon” he calls Syria, Cooper is betting on his team, most of whom are professional players from abroad, new and old, “to go far in the tournament.” Let's fight.
After 6 participations (21 matches played, 7 wins, 3 draws and 11 losses), the Syrian team hopes to avoid the group stage for the first time, relying on a large group abroad that has started to believe in them in recent years. After the decline of the local league.
The recent results of the “Eagles of Kazyon” did not inspire the senior Kuper who led 8 matches, won 3 of them and lost 4 times, and he finished as a runner-up in the 2017 African Cup of Nations with Egypt.
Syria play in Group Two with Australia, Uzbekistan and India.
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