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Kazakhstan plays Iran’s anthem for Syria basketball team before World Cup qualifier

November 29, 2021 at 3:24 pm

FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifier match on 3 December 2018 [Takashi Aoyama/Getty Images]

Syria’s Sports Federation has lodged a complaint against basketball’s world governing body, FIBA, after host nation, Kazakhstan, played the Iranian national anthem instead of the Syrian one, ahead of the first leg of the Asian qualifiers for the World Cup 2023.

The Syrian players appeared perplexed as the anthem was being played at the start of Saturday’s fixture in the Kazakh capital of Nur-Sultan. However, after clapping once the anthem had finished, they sang their own national anthem on the court before the game started.

Syria went on to losing the game, 74 to 84, and the second leg is scheduled this afternoon in Damascus. Both teams share the same group as Iran and Bahrain. The next World Cup will be hosted by the Philippines, Japan and Indonesia, taking place from 25 August through 10 September.

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According to Syria’s Al-Watan newspaper, Firas Moualla, the head of the Syrian General Sports Federation, said he had complained to the FIBA. He also mentioned that the Syrian Federation had complained to the Kazakh Foreign Ministry.

The head of Syria’s Basketball Federation, Tarif Qutrash, blamed the Kazakh and Asian Federations for the mistake, saying the Kazakh team will be fined.

The Islamic Republic of Iran adopted its current national anthem in 1990, replacing the one used under the reign of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. The anthem was chosen as part of a competition the year after Khomeini died in 1989.

The anthem of Syria, “Humat Ad-Diyar” was adopted in 1938 after a national competition was held for the-then new republic, two years after the signing of the Franco-Syrian Treaty of Independence. It was temporarily replaced during the short-lived United Arab Republic (UAR) union with Egypt in 1958 and later re-adopted once Syria left the union in 1961, and has been used by both the ruling Ba’ath party and the opposition, as it pre-dates the current government.

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