Can sport heal divisions in the Middle East?

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Qatar’s football team started the Asian Cup ranked 93rd in the world.

But after an almost flawless month-long tournament, Qatari players brought home their first major trophy.

All the more remarkable because their matches were played in the United Arab Emirates.

As one of the four countries imposing their 20-month long blockade of Qatar, fans were banned from going to cheer their team on. And the players endured outright hostility on the pitch.

Will the victory ease or exacerbate tensions in the Gulf?

Presenter: Martine Dennis

Guests:

Mahfoud Amara – head of the sports science programme at Qatar University; author of Sport, Politics and Society in the Arab World

James Dorsey – senior fellow at S Rajartnam School of International Studies; author of Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer

Rob Harris – international sports journalist

Source: Al Jazeera News

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