oint, thats what we like having around, James
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The CONIFA World Football Cup had all the trappings of a bona fide international soccer tournament: a brand-new stadium, exciting matchups, a worldwide live stream and even souvenirs. But the 12 teams that faced off from May 28 to June 5 amid the bullet-riddled buildings of Abkhazia, a disputed region between Russia and Georgia, were missing one key thing: international recognition.Not that it mattered much. While soccer teams from diplomatically challenged regions like Northern Cyprus, Kurdistan and Padania have long been shut out of FIFA, theyve settled into a home of their own: the Confederation of Independent Football Associations.Founded in 2013 and composed of some three dozen members from across the globe, CONIFA holds international competitions for de facto states, micro-nations and other ethnic groups that have few chances to play together. Born partly out of frustration with FIFAs membership requirements, the organization also serves a more humanitarian purpose: celebrating its underrepresented members and their fans. It held the first World Football Cup in June 2014 in Sweden, and the Abkhazia edition was the second global tournament.For Amarvir Sandhu, a 20-year-old player from Panjab, a geographic region shared by northern India and eastern Pakistan, the tournament was a rare platform to showcase his teams talent. Im sure that a lot of people probably havent heard of Panjab or dont know where it is and who probably -- definitely -- think we cant play football, Sandhu said.Sandhu and his teammates proved the skeptics wrong: Panjab made it to the finals and was defeated only after Abkhazia equalized in the 88th minute and won 6-5 on penalties. Heres a look at how the rest of the tournament played out. -- Dan PeleschukLyuba Agrba, 79, sells popcorn across from Dinamo Stadium before opening day of the CONIFA World Football Cup in Sukhumi.Dancers perform elaborate traditional Abkhaz dances during the opening ceremonies on May 27, which lasted several hours.This dilapidated pier served as a fan zone for people unable to secure tickets to the matches. The fan zone features a cafe and a projection TV where fans gathered nightly to watch the matches.A fan waves the Abkhazia flag during his sides opening match against Chagos Islands, an archipelago in the Indian Ocean whose team finished last in the tournament. The Abkhazians won 9-0.(Left to right) Lee Seon Cheoi, Kaito Akimoto and Chison Ko carry laundry for their team, United Koreans in Japan, to a facility at their hotel. Koreans living in Japan constitute one of the largest groups of ethnic minorities in the country.Space was tight in Abdillahi Nurs hotel room. One of his Somaliland teammates moved in on account of another teammates snoring. Somaliland is a region of Somalia that declared its independence in 1991 but is nevertheless not recognized by any other country.Abkhazias George Djanaa performs a celebratory dance in the locker room after his teams 1-0 defeat of Western Armenia.Nur gives away his shin guards, jersey and shoes to Abkhaz children after a 5-0 loss to Panjab. I wish I had more stuff, but I dont, he says.While some games were sparsely attended, opportunities to see the Abkhaz team play were eagerly sought-after. Officials estimated that there were 7,000 people in the 4,300-capacity Dinamo Stadium for this match.United Koreans in Japan goalkeeper Jae Gun Ri dons an Abkhaz flag headband after a trip to a souvenir shop. In the background is his teammate Jang Hwi Jeong on a toy vehicle.Kurdistan, which was composed of Iraqi Kurds and which brought one of the largest delegations to the tournament, was one of the early favorites. However, the Kurds were eliminated by Padania, a region of Northern Italy, on penalties in the quarterfinals.Panjabs Terlochan Singh, right in yellow, collides with Western Armenias Raffi Kaya during a quarterfinal match. The hard-fought match ended in a scuffle that involved players, police and fans, many of whom were ethnic Armenians.Abkhaz fans exult as their team draws even 5-5 on penalties after falling into a 3-1 hole during the final against Panjab.Many of the teams -- including Székely Land, an ethnic region in todays Romania -- took advantage of off days to visit the historical and natural features of the separatist nation. The Anacopia Fortress, constructed between the second and fourth centuries, was once the capital of the Kingdom of Abkhazia.Before the final match between Abkhazia and Panjab, Kurdistans Karwan Mantk plays a traditional instrument called a shimshal.Abkhaz forward Ruslan Shoniya celebrates after scoring an 88th-minute goal against Panjab to even the score at 1-1 in the final. The game was decided by penalty kicks.Georgiy Zhanaa hoists the CONIFA trophy after Abkhazia defeated Panjab in the final. At left, several of Zhanaas teammates wear a South Ossetian flag in a show of solidarity with Georgias other separatist republic.Lyuba, 79, holds an Abkhazian flag and a portrait of the Abkhazias first president, Vladislav Ardzinba, after the team won the championship game.Panjabs Terlochan Singh, left, and Jaskaran Singh Basi dance at a celebratory banquet after the closing ceremonies on June 5.Mike Sakir, captain of the Chagos Islands team, checks out of his hotel room, his cleats left as a gift for the hotel staff.Additional reporting by Ilioné Schultz Carlos Henderson Jersey . The (11-11-4) Jets are seventh in the Central Division with 26 points. Fifth place Dallas and sixth-seeded Nashville also have 26 points, but the Stars have three games in hand on Winnipeg while Nashville has two. Carlos Henderson Broncos Jersey . -- Arizona raced out to a big lead and did not back off, hitting the accelerator instead. . PETERSBURG, Fla. Garett Bolles Womens Jersey . Jordan Lynch, the all-purpose Heisman Trophy finalist from Northern Illinois, failed to make it into that exclusive club. Brendan Langley Womens Jersey . Houston won 3-0 to advance to face New York in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Last in the game, Di Vaio and Romero got into a shoving match with several Houston players. Romero appeared to elbow and kick Houston defender Kofi Sarkodie. The Cleveland Cavaliers have waived forward Eric Moreland as he continues to recover from a foot injury suffered last season.I feel it is in my best interest for me to take my time to make sure I am 100 percent healthy, Moreland told ESPN. I feel really good and think I am close to being game ready but with the setback I have already been through, I want be extra cautious with my return and do everything I can to make sure I my foot has completely healed.Moreland was not cleared by the Cavaliers to participate in training camp this past week. Cleveland will likely re-evaluate Moreland -- who re-aggravated the injury last April -- prior to the season. Moreland broke his foot last December.Moreland signed with Cleveland earlier this month, but doctors have told Moreland that he is approximately 6-8 weeks away from being 100 percent.The 6-foot-10 Moreland played at Oregon State and spent the first two seasons of his professional career with the Sacramento Kings organization. He missed much of his rookie season due to a shoulder injury and was out last year due to the foot injury.Also Monday, the Cavaliers signed veteran point guard Toney Douglas to address a lack of experienced depth at the position.Douglas played 61 games with New Orleans last season, averaging 8.7 points, 2.33 rebounds and 2.dddddddddddd6 assists in 20.7 minutes. Hell compete for a backup job behind Kyrie Irving.We like the way he can shoot the basketball, Cavaliers coach Ty Lue said. Off the ball, be able to knock down open shots. We like his pace and tempo, pushing the basketball. And hes a tough player, picking up full court, guarding the basketball. He just plays with toughness we need.The defending NBA champion Cavs were in the market for a point guard after Mo Williams retired last week. Rookie Kay Felder was the only other point guard in training camp.Douglas was at Cavs practice Monday but was mostly an observer. His deal includes no guaranteed money, a league source told He is in camp on a make-good contract and will have a shot to make the team.Douglas was a teammate of LeBron James in Miami.Hes a veteran guy so you know youre going to get a professional out of him and at that point, thats what we like having around, James said. We like veterans and guys that have been around and know what its like to be a professional and its great to have him.Information from ESPNs Dave McMenamin and The Associated Press was used in this report. 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Monday 19 Jun, 2017 @ 10:03AM