Sport, without spin, from around the world. Matthew Hall considers the issues behind the headlines and tells the stories that others don't.
East Timor and the Hunt for the Elusive Win
The result, according to Pedro Almeida, a motorcycle mechanic in Dili, made everyone proud.
East Timor, officially the worst football team in the entire world, had played a competitive game and did not lose.
Such is the state of professional football in Australia's near neighbour that Pedro The Motorcycle Mechanic (as US presidential candidate John McCain has taken to labelling seemingly everybody) has a double life as Pedro The Coach Of The Worst Team In The World.
But our man in Dili is looking to update his CV, telling Reuters last weekend: "We are not happy with our world ranking and we are hoping our players will continue to improve.”
The reason for the celebration and subsequent introspection and added determination was East Timor's 2-2 draw with Cambodia in a qualifying tournament for the 2009 Suzuki Cup, a regional tournament you will likely never hear much about that sits under the umbrella of the Asian Football Confederation.
(Memo to AFC: Talk it up!)
East Timor's team is made up of people who usually fill their days as soldiers, grocers and port workers.
"The squad changes constantly because the players have families and cannot afford time off work," explained Almeida.
"When they are 21 or 22, they have to quit."
It's probably a miracle that the still-fledgling nation has a team at all.
In 2002, the country was granted a pitch for kids to play on by the United Nations with a bold speech by a UN employee that "through football you will learn about leadership, strategy, and teamwork, and these are key skills in the development of a new nation."
Thanks for that but how about some grass?
Six years later, FIFA is finally planning to fulfil a promise of helping fund a grass pitch for the country.
It gets worse. Sort of.
East Timor had to play its World Cup qualifier against Hong Kong last year in Bali. There are no floodlights in Dili so the national stadium doesn’t come up to FIFA scratch.
East Timor lost that qualifier 8-1. Dreams of 2010 over before the lights were even on.
So, too, the point picked up against Cambodia last week proved rare. They were bundled out of the tournament after losing to Brunei and Laos.
One of East Timor's "star" (unfortunately, we have to use the term loosely) players is Alfredo Esteves who plays for Wollongong in the New South Wales Premier League.
After the Suzuki tournament, he wrote on his excellent blog: "I scored against Laos, so I want to dedicate that goal to all of you that have been so supportive to Timor Leste. God bless Timor Leste and all of you!"
Next up, next year, East Timor take part in the Lusofonia Games in Lisbon, Portugal, and the South East Asia Games in Laos.
Just one win, boys. Just one!