Asian Cup champs get warm welcome | sports | Hindustan Times
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Asian Cup champs get warm welcome

The Asian Cup champions get a surprise upgrade on their flight tickets as the UAE PM sends his own plane to pick them up.

sports Updated: Jul 31, 2007 12:26 IST

Asian Cup champions Iraq got a surprise upgrade on their economy-class flight tickets on Tuesday when the Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates sent his own plane to pick them up.

Iraqi team officials said Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, who is also vice-president and the ruler of Dubai, wanted to be the first person to greet them on their return to the Middle East.

The squad were in transit in Bangkok awaiting a scheduled flight to Amman, but were told they had been invited to a special party in Dubai instead.

Sheikh Mohammed is worth $14 billion, according to Forbes magazine.

Iraq defied all odds to win the Asian Cup for the first time on Sunday, with Younis Mahmoud's 71st-minute header against Saudi Arabia setting off wild celebrations across the war-torn country.