No coach of the year honors for those guys.
“There were beatings. The players are now starting to talk more. Most want to forget about it and look to the future.”
He said punishment could range from being forced to kick a football-sized stone for hours on end, beatings on the soles of their feet, food, water and sleep deprivation and even being forced to stay out in the sun in 55-degree Celsius (131 degrees Farenheit) heat.
Jail terms, he added, were the most common form of punishment.
Iraq’s youth team were thrown in prison for a month in 1998 when they failed to win the Asia Youth Cup that year, the journalist added.
Saad Naser Jamil, Iraq’s goalkeeper, said the team would always be afraid of losing.
He recalled phone calls from Uday or his associates before, after and sometimes even at halftime to threaten players about reprisals.
Midfielder Ali Waheb Setet also spoke about pressure applied by Uday but said that was all over now with Uday killed and Saddam in hiding.
“When Saddam was there we had to play good and there was too much pressure,” he said. “After every game there was pressure. But now it is a different situation. It is much better now. That is all behind me. This is a new era. It is only football now.”