The team, sitting at the top of the table for its group, is performing remarkably well despite formidable hurdles. The war has crippled football in Syria, scattering players across the world, and leaving them with barely a week to meet and train ahead of each match.
But Syrians everywhere are pouring out their support through social media, says Al Husein, and the crisis at home piles on the pressure to make them proud. He hopes that, by doing so, the team will pull the country’s fragmented identity closer together.
“At the end of the day we come from all aspects of Syria. Whether you’re a Christian or a Muslim or any sector of Islam, we’re all one family, we’re playing for one team, one country.