Football in a War Zone: Ziad Chabo Won’t Let Syria’s Troubles Stop Him Coaching

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at Internationaled.org

Published: September 20, 2016

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Ziad Chabo gave his life to Syria's national football team for 18 years. Now, Syria is a place that threatens to take it away.

Chabo lives in the port city of Latakia, a government stronghold since the country's civil war began in 2011. There, the 37-year-old defiantly coaches young footballers amid the chaos despite the constant fear for his and his family's safety.

Over 250,000 Syrians have lost their lives in the five years of armed conflict. A staggering 11 million people have been forced from their homes, more than than half the country's population. But the Chabo family have held their ground—football and family keeping hope alive as rockets and car bombs invade their daily lives.

From the outside, it might look like everyone is fighting in Syria. The reality could not be further from the truth; innocent civilians are trying to live normal lives during one of the deadliest periods in history.

"Before the war, Syria was a peaceful and prosperous country, with opportunities for all," Chabo said. "Today, with ISIS, everyone and everything is a moving target for them."

It is hard for him to go back in his mind to his childhood—a better, purer time—living in Fedio, a place where he says life is celebrated.



Back then, he would commute to Latakia for schooling, always making sure he got his football in before walking home. His talent soon shone through.

"When I was 11, my school played in a tournament, and one of the coaches at Hutten Club, in Latakia, saw me and offered me a place."

By the age of 16, Chabo was playing for Syria's junior international side. He travelled all over the world: South Korea, East Asia, South America, Africa and Europe. A powerful player with natural instincts, showreels speak to an aggressor in the box, unleashing his body toward crosses and scoring many a goal with his head.

Chabo went on to represent ...
Article Source: Bleacher Report - International Football

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