The emergency coach of Iraq, Hakim Shaker, the self-styled saviour of Iraqi football, the man with all the answers to the wrong questions, has become the butt of every Iraqi football fan’s joke and though he may not go down as the most gifted coach (in any era), Hakim will go down as the most parodied and mocked Iraqi sports personality ever, with dozens of Facebook pages bearing his name popping up every week poking fun at the Iraqi coach.
Because of his one man mission to restore the reputation and name of the local Iraqi coach single handed, arguing that a local coach is the right man for the current situation (instead of a foreigner), many of the Iraqis fans have begun nicknaming him Hakimov, Hakimson, or Hakimovic.
Hakim Shaker, with his smug facial expressions and smirky grin, and his ability to spin a story to his own advantage, will go down as not only the worst coach in the history of the national side but the biggest chancier in the Iraqi game. A former Iraq Army officer with a below average playing career mainly as a reserve and little to shout home about in over twenty years coaching at domestic and international level, who somehow found himself in the top job in Iraq.
He employed the use of overage players in the Iraqi youth team to gain advantage in youth competitions, in Asia and on the World stage, and for a time for many Iraqi football fans, after the fourth place finish at the 2013 FIFA World U-20 Cup in Turkey.
Al-Hakim (“The Man of Wisdom”) according to his wikipedia page, was the only man to save the Iraqi team from facing elimination from the 2015 Asian Cup in Australia. But there is as much as media spin, ipads and patriotic songs, his speeches of the ‘new golden generation’ (some of whom are nearing 26!), and age forgery can take him, his ultimate downfall is that he doesn’t have the competence or the football intellect to read matches and make game changing decisions or substitutions.
In each of his matches as national coach, he was found wanting when time came for alterations to be made, his teams would come out dominating in the first opening minutes, but in the second half, which in Iraq was known as Showt Al-Mudarabeen, or ‘the half of the coach’, literally meaning the half where coaches earned their dinars making crucial game changing decisions, Hakim could never work out an answer to finding a way for Iraq to win.
You will see him interviewed before matches and after matches, just search his name on Youtube and you will find hundreds of interviews.
The coach is media obsessed, from the time he was coach of the Iraqi youth team at the 2012 AFC Asian U-19 Championship in the UAE, Hakim was interviewed almost daily by both Iraqi and Arab channels, and when the team returned to Baghdad, the following day, the coach was in the studio being interviewed live on Iraqi TV.
It was the same scenario at the WAFF Championship in Kuwait, Gulf Cup in Bahrain and the World U-20 Cup in Turkey, and on his return from his travels, Hakim would be interviewed by several Iraqi TV channels. At one time, it seemed as if he was never off the air.
He also has his own regularly updated facebook page, run by his son Hassan, which he uses to monitor public opinion of him – and for the coach his image to the sporting and Iraqi public is very important – especially to portray his strong patriotism, which sometimes comes off as if he’s the only Iraqi patriot in the country. He seems to revel in the media spotlight. Painting a picture of himself as the only man to save Iraqi football.
But in the end, having made various enemies in the local sports media after several confrontations, with journalists and a number of players, the honest ‘holy saviour’ image he attempted to convey to the Iraqi masses backfired, and the evidently, his true face came to light. For many fans, the ugly front of Hakim Shaker was not the one they saw in front of their television screens, always smiling and grinning, saying the things any politician would say to gain re-election, and never admitting that any mistake was his fault, but his lies and often contradictory statements has made him a man who lacks honesty, integrity and credibility.
His word means practically nothing, changing as the story goes on, to benefit himself. He personifies the current Iraqi FA perfectly – a corrupt, insincere and unapologetic administration, who after countless failures on the pitch and many more off it, blaming everyone but themselves, and would never do the honourable thing of resigning.
But his actions have spectacularly backfired on him, and the coach has been a victim of multiple identity theft, when several unofficial facebook pages such as https://www.facebook.com/Hakem.Shakeer, https://www.facebook.com/pages/%D8%AD%D9%83%D9%8A%D9%85%D9%88%D9%81-%D8%B4%D8%A7%D9%83%D8%B1%D9%88%D9%81/432290453563682 and https://www.facebook.com/ALcoach.hakem were using the name of the coach, and according to the coach, there were many false stories that were published on those pages. One profile https://www.facebook.com/hkym.shakr3 states that the coach is in ‘an open relationship’.
HIS OWN FACEBOOK PAGE
In a youtube video on July 4, 2013 posted on an account by the name Mustafa Talib, which in the short 29 second clip the coach stated “The truth is that I do not have a facebook page, and it’s not possible for me to have a website page, and considering the effects of the football street and public demands, I will constitute my own page, and it will be managed by my son Hassan.”
The short video had the link https://www.facebook.com/hakemshaker.official written on it, which started on that same day with administrators Al-Hassan Hakim Shaker, Zakria Al-Shuwaily, Ibrahim Al-Nasseri, Zaidoun Al-Iraqi and Mohammed Al-Mudhafar and on July 5, in a video his son even confirmed that this was the only official facebook site, and showed his identification card to confirm his identity. There were two more videos posted on July 6 where Hakim Shaker said that he didn’t have a website, but the idea that the brothers, had made a site which featured several people including his son Hassan who manages the site.
His son confirmed that it was the only site and that there was another taking photos from their site and posting on their own claiming to be from Hakim Shaker but on July 14, the coach strangely still insisted that he didn’t have any facebook page to Mustafa Al-Agha on MBC’s Sada Al-Malaeb.
On September 5, it was confirmed on the page that it was moving to another page http://www.facebook.com/Hakeem.shker.official. The storm over Hakim Shaker’s facebook page came to a head months earlier during the FIFA World U-20 Cup when false news was released from a facebook page attributed to the coach in which the FA media spokesman Thair Al-Mousawi had to make a press statement from the city of Kayseri on July 5, 2013, to disclose that Hakim Shaker didn’t have a personal page on the social networking site and there was no truth to the news that the coach had permitted the players official leave after they reached the quarterfinals. The coach joined facebook on August 21, 2013 and on the Friends Network youtube account on September 3, 2013, a video was posted by the coach stating that the page http://www.facebook.com/Hakeem.shker.official was his only personal page which was run by Ali Almawla, Mustafa Design and his son Al-Hassan and the rest were fakes, which according to the coach looked by the photos on the pages, as if they were put up by people that previously worked closely with him.
His statement to confirm his own facebook page hasn’t stopped people having the last laugh, starting new facebook pages using his name and mocking the coach.