Yemen national soccer team coach dies from COVID-19

SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Yemen’s soccer association said Sunday that the country’s national team coach Sami al-Naash has died from COVID-19.

The Yemen Football Association says he died on Monday in a hospital in the southern port city of Aden.

Local reports say al-Naash was infected while at a camp for the national team in the southern province of Shabwa last month.

Yemen’s national team was preparing for three games in the coming weeks in hopes of qualifying for the Asian Cup and the 2022 World Cup finals in Qatar. Yemen is in Group D along with Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan, Singapore, and the Palestinian territories.

The country, which has been gripped by civil war since 2014, has been experiencing a surge in coronavirus cases that have overwhelmed its depleted medical facilities.

The conflict in Yemen started when Iranian-backed Houthi rebels took control of the capital Sanaa and much of the northern part of the country. That forced President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi’s government to flee to the south, then to Saudi Arabia.

A U.S.-backed, Saudi-led coalition intervened against the Houthis in 2015 in an attempt to restore Hadi’s rule.

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