DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — Syrian media reports that the national sports federation complained to the world’s governing body of basketball because Kazakhstan, hosting the first leg of Asian qualifiers for World Cup 2023, played the Iranian national anthem, instead of the Syrian, at the start of the game. Syrian players appeared perplexed when the Iranian national anthem was played at the start of the game on Saturday in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan. Before the game started, the Syrian players sang their national anthem while on the field after their huddle. The technical team cheered them on. Syria lost to the Kazakh team 74 to 84. The Asian qualifiers run to February 2023. The next World Cup — to be hosted by the Philippines, Japan and Indonesia — starts in August 2023.
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