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DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — Syria’s sports federation has complained to basketball’s world governing body after Kazakhstan welcomed its team with the Iranian national anthem, instead of the Syrian, to the game at the first leg of Asian qualifiers for World Cup 2023.

Syrian players appeared perplexed when the song was played by the Kazakh hosts at the start of the game on Saturday in Nur-Sultan, the capital of Kazakhstan.

Still, they clapped after the anthem was finished.

After a huddle and before the game started, the Syrians sang their own national anthem on the court. The technical team cheered them on.

Syria lost to the Kazakh team 74 to 84. Another match is scheduled for the home crowd on Monday in Damascus, Syria. Syria and Kazakhstan play in the same group with Iran and Bahrain.

Firas Moualla, the head of the Syrian General Sports Federation, was quoted in pro-government Al-Watan newspaper saying he has complained to the International Basketball Federation (FIBA). The Syrian Federation also complained to the Kazakh foreign ministry, he said.

The head of Syria’s Basketball Federation Tarif Qutrash blamed the Kazakh and Asian Federations for the mistake, saying the Kazakh team will be fined.

The Asian qualifiers run from November to February 2023, with each national team playing home and away games in each tournament.

The next World Cup — to be hosted by the Philippines, Japan and Indonesia — takes place from Aug. 25 through Sept. 10, 2023.

Ironically, a national anthem mishap had previously affected Kazakhstan’s national shooting team. In 2012, a fictional national anthem from the comedy film Borat was played, instead of the real one, at a medal ceremony at championships in Kuwait.

The team asked organizers for an apology. The ceremony for the Kazakh gold medalist was later rerun.

Copyright © 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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Miami (OH) plays Eastern Michigan following Grants 26-point game

Miami (OH) RedHawks (9-9, 3-4 MAC) at Eastern Michigan Eagles (7-11, 2-5 MAC)

Ypsilanti, Michigan; Saturday, 3 p.m. EST

BOTTOM LINE: Miami (OH) visits the Eastern Michigan Eagles after Dae Dae Grant scored 26 points in Miami (OH)’s 81-64 loss to the Ball State Cardinals.

The Eagles have gone 6-2 in home games. Eastern Michigan is eighth in the MAC scoring 71.1 points while shooting 43.4% from the field.

The RedHawks are 3-4 in conference play. Miami (OH) has a 2-3 record in games decided by less than 4 points.

The Eagles and RedHawks meet Saturday for the first time in MAC play this season.

TOP PERFORMERS: Noah Farrakhan is scoring 16.2 points per game and averaging 3.9 rebounds for the Eagles. Bryce McBride is averaging 1.0 made 3-pointers over the last 10 games for Eastern Michigan.

Grant is scoring 16.9 points per game and averaging 4.4 rebounds for the RedHawks. Mekhi Lairy is averaging 12.5 points and 2.6 rebounds over the last 10 games for Miami (OH).

LAST 10 GAMES: Eagles: 4-6, averaging 69.5 points, 30.3 rebounds, 10.7 assists, 7.1 steals and 3.5 blocks per game while shooting 43.9% from the field. Their opponents have averaged 70.2 points per game.

RedHawks: 4-6, averaging 74.0 points, 30.9 rebounds, 11.2 assists, 4.5 steals and 2.8 blocks per game while shooting 43.3% from the field. Their opponents have averaged 78.9 points.


The Associated Press created this story using technology provided by Data Skrive and data from Sportradar.

Copyright © 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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