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Iraqi Soccer Coach Blasts U.S. Administrator

Bernd Stange, the German coach of the Iraqi national soccer team, has criticized the U.S.-led coalition for ignoring the needs of his players and has threatened to resign unless authorities help the squad prepare for the upcoming Asian championships. Stange said that while the country is in such disarray, the success of the team is a matter of national pride. He rounded on Iraq’s chief U.S. administrator Paul Bremer saying, success "is important for the return of normalcy. Doesn’t Bremer understand this?” Despite qualifying for the Asia Cup and rebuilding itself with little help after the war, the Iraq team had received no support or congratulations from Bremer or any coalition officials. “For the coalition, I only have hard words,” Stange said. “I know that soccer is not the most important thing in life, but this country has always been crazy about the game and they should understand that our successes are helping boost morale and lift Iraq from the ashes."