Since the fall of Saddam’s regime, the selection of the national side has fallen on officials in the FA, with many foreign coaches unable to watch local league matches because of the instability and unrest in the country, according to several insiders many players have been selected because of their “close relationships” with some of the FA members.
Here is a little insight into what Salih Sadir of second placed Duhok believes from his recent interview with Al-Malaab. Salih was once part of the inner circle that dominated the national side from 2004 until there was a decline in his performances and was dropped by Zico. Egil Olsen wanted him dropped in 2008 but somehow made every one of the Norwegian’s training camps despite having not been named by Olsen but by the FA themselves.
“I truly believe that a player who does not have a “bond” cannot continue with the team and represent the team in competitions abroad, so how do you explain that Zico expressed his admiration for my performances during the Pan Arab Games and said to me, and I quote that my place is in the national squad, my selection was as a substitute for Alaa Abdul-Zahra, who missed the team before the match with Singapore because he was suspended, and I was recalled but after that I was not selected to the ranks of the team, indicating that Zico does not have a lead role (in selections). Players are selected according to relations and effects are controlled on selecting a player over others. Football in Iraq is moving towards entering into a dark tunnel because of this policy, which controls the selection of players to the national team.”