Coach Vieira says the squad have been preparing for the final from the very start.
“If my contract was for six months and not for two, they would have had to take me to the hospital for crazy people.”
|Al Jazeera exclusive|
He said steering one of the pre-tournament outsiders to their maiden Asian Cup final was one of the highlights of his career.
“It was very big for me, one of my greatest achievements,” said the well-travelled Vieira, who has coached 26 clubs and five national teams.
“I had a gut feeling inside, a message that I should take this job. It was a fantastic experience, it was a gift from god.”
|Vieira had no regrets over taking the job [AFP]|
Vieira said it was a hard decision to turn his back on Iraq having been asked by players, fans and even Nuri al-Maliki, the Iraqi prime minister, to lead the team to the 2010 World Cup.
He said: “For me, this is very difficult, everyone has asked me not to leave, but it’s difficult working against my instincts.
“I’m a very organised and meticulous man. It’s difficult to work when you are agitated and things don’t go as you wish. I have to fight against everything.
“I’m so tired, this is not good for my health.”
When he took over two months ago, the team was in disarray, with poor training facilities, players unavailable and bickering within the squad along religious lines.
As a result of his side’s impressive performance in the Asian Cup, Vieira has been inundated with offers from club teams, although he denies reports he is set to replace Dutchman Pim Verbeek as South Korea’s national coach.
“This is not true,” he said.
“I have not heard or said anything about this.”
“If my contract was for six months and not for two, they would have had to take me to the hospital for crazy people”
Jorgan Vieira, Iraq team coach
Iraq face three-times winners Saudi Arabia in Sunday’s final.
Vieira hopes it will be a fairytale finish for a side who have not only had to contend with their opposition teams but also logistical mishaps and poor organisation.
Whatever the outcome, Vieira said he and his players have something to be proud of.
“The whole world is talking about us,” he said.
“They are talking about the war in Iraq and they are amazed at what we have done as a team and as a group.
“This team have become stars in the world, and not only because of football.
“I’m very happy that I had the chance to help this team give hope to the Iraqi people.”