A penalty successfully converted by Omar Kharbin in the dying minutes of the game gave Syria a vital 1-0 win over Uzbekistan that the war-torn country’s team needed to keep alive its hopes of advancing towards the 2018 football World Cup finals in Russia.
Kharbin’s spot-kick, taken in the first minute of the second half’s injury time, beat veteran Uzbek goalkeeper Aleksandr Lobanov and raised a cheer among 23 million Syrians still in the war-ravaged nation on Thursday, reports Efe.
“We want to put a smile on Syrian faces,” said the 23-year-old forward, who like 4.3 million refugees has had to make a life for himself away from his native soil.
But Kharbin is a lucky one, as he plays in Saudi Arabia for Al-Hilal, one of the Middle East’s most well-known teams.
He is also well-remunerated compared to fellow teammates who have been conscripted by the army. A player in Syria’s league earns some $200 a month, which constitutes good pay in the Middle Eastern country.