World's worst team happy to win first point

Thu Oct 30, 2008 6:22am EDT
 
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By Ek Madra

PHNOM PENH (Reuters) - After six fruitless years playing international soccer, the world's worst team are beginning to see the romance of the beautiful game.

When the rag-tag national side of East Timor drew 2-2 with fellow strugglers Cambodia last week, they clinched the first point they had ever won to stem a seemingly endless run of defeats.

FIFA's lowest-ranked nation finally had something to celebrate.

"It was the first game we didn't lose -- we're all very proud," said long-serving, long-suffering coach Pedro Almeida, a motorcycle mechanic in the country's sleepy capital Dili.

"We are not happy with our world ranking and we are hoping our players will continue to improve," he told Reuters.

Almeida says it is no surprise that his team of inexperienced misfits have never won a match.

Although aid and investment have trickled into the cash-strapped Southeast Asian nation since it gained full independence in 2002, hardly any has been spent on sport.

The country's handful of balding soccer pitches are barely usable and its federation chiefs say it is almost impossible to find opponents for friendly matches.   Continued...

 
<p>Anggisu Barbosa (L) of East fights for the ball with Mohd Azwan Bin Muhd Saleh of Brunei during their Asean Football Federation Suzuki Cup 2008 soccer qualifier at the Olympic national stadium in Phnom Penh October 21, 2008. After six fruitless years playing international soccer, FIFA's lowest-ranked nation East Timor are beginning to see the romance of the beautiful game. REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea</p>