Assyrian legends of Iraqi football: Gorgis Ismail



Gorgis Ismail Meerza was a well-known soccer figure in Iraq in the Sixties. The Habbaniya-born attacker played from 1957 to 1960 for Nadi Athori (Assyrian Sports Club) and for Army side Al-Farqa Al-Thalatha (Third Division) from 1960 to 1973.

During the years from 1960-1968 he was a key member of the Iraqi Army and national team. He filled his position as a forward and enforced himself upon his fans by his unique skills and astonishing offensive abilities.

While off the field he was shy and calm person, on the field, Gorgis was a strongly built, quick and fearless attacker who brimmed with confidence. He was a versatile player, who was capable of playing on either flank or as a central forward.

He made his international debut against Tunisia in 1960 in Baghdad and ended his career representing his country at the 1968 Olympic qualifying campaign in Bangkok. Gorgis made 18 international appearances for the national side, scoring three goals while he played 26 times for the Iraqi Army side in the CISM World Military Championship.

It is worth mentioning that Gorgis scored the two goals against Syria in an historic game in the final of the 1966 Arab Cup in Baghdad.

The striker was the hero in the final and at the final whistle he was carried by thousands of spectators all the way from Al-Kashafa Stadium to his home at Galiani Camp, and for a distance of at least five miles, his feet did not touch the ground.

After retiring he worked as a coach for the Al-Amal Club in 1973. Then from 1982 to 1985 he was assigned as a coach for the Army Corp. of Engineers team (1st Div.).


Watch the fiasco from start to finish

I don’t know what more to add, a game played at Basra Sports City 2 Stadium, free admission for fans, match kicked off an hour 13 minutes late, an electricity blackout, match officials deciding not to finish the first half after the blackout and restarting it from the start of the second half, fans invading the pitch that stopped the game, overcrowding and to finish it the match was abandoned after 63 minutes after the crowd invaded the field.