Yemen national football team had no other choice than made a long journey with a 13-hour sea trip before facing North Korea in Qatar to open their joint qualifiers of 2018 World Cup and 2019 Asian Cup campaign on June 11.
It is the only route out of the war-torn Yemen, the same route thousands of fleeing refugees have escaped in recent weeks as the all borders closed and all airports either destroyed or engulfed in fighting, according to Business Insider.
The country’s youth and sports minister Rafat Ali Al-Akhali revealed the journey, showing several photos of the team were on the boat crossing the Bab el-Mandeb strait to reach Djibouti before traveling to Qatar to meet their Czech coach Miroslav Soukup.
“These pictures capture the great spirit of the Yemeni people,” wrote Al-Akhali on his Facebook page. “I do not know how to describe my mixed feelings about these images.
“I choose to hang on to hope that Yemen will rise from the rubble, and we will make our future by the clean hands of young people that are not stained with the blood of Yemenis.”
Yemen, who never qualified for the final stage of World Cup or Asian Cup, were pitted into Group H along with Bahrain, North Korea, Uzbekistan and Philippines.