The ruler of Dubai on Tuesday awarded Iraq’s triumphant national football team AED20 million ($5.5 million) for capturing the Asian Cup for the first time in the country’s history.
HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, donated the money at a ceremony held in Dubai to honour the team’s 1-0 win over Saudi Arabia on Sunday in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Sheikh Mohammed said the team showed “the ability of the Iraqi people... to deal with hardship and presented an example of how to give for the sake of the nation”, reported AP.
Iraq sealed victory against Saudi Arabia with a header in the 71st minute by Younis Mahmoud, sparking wild celebrations cross the country and uniting its various sectarian factions.
The country made it through to the final by beating one of Asian footballing giants South Korea 4-3 in a nail biting penalty shootout after both sides failed to break the deadlock over 120 scoreless minutes.