Pictures from the 90s – Al-Zawraa


Al-Zawraa wear jerseys with a red X on the letters UN. This was worn by the Iraqi club after the UN economic sanctions against Iraq.

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Three foreign based youth players interviewed (on Al-Fayha TV)


Nice interview with Rami Sami, Steve Saad and David Dawood. I wish them all the luck in their playing careers.

Have a look at David Dawood Ishaya from Chicago, where he plays for Shlama. Looks a good player. Hopefully we will see him in the MLS in the future.

The club David represents was named after a Nineveh based club of the same name founded in 1988 by Deryawish Ishaya known as Abu Dawud. The team was made up of Assyrians from local schools and colleges in the area and after many Assyrians were forced to leave the city of Nineveh after the US invasion in 2003, many lived as refugees in Amman, where a team called Shlama was formed after the team first formed by Deryawish Ishaya, and then after many of them moved to the United States, a team was formed in Chicago, named Shlama FC. The team played in the National Soccer League Indoor League for the first time in season 2009-2010, finishing third in the league. David Dawood Ishaya was top scorer for the club with 21 goals in 15 games and won the Golden Boot Award for the second division.

Nashat downs Emperors in Arbil


In a tense encounter at the Franso Harriri Stadium, league leaders Al-Shurta snatched a 1-0 victory over reigning Iraqi champions Arbil, thanks to a second half strike from their captain Nashat Akram. The win keeps the Baghdad based club four points clear at the top of the league and on course for a third league title.

Over the past seasons, games between Arbil and clubs from down south have been volatile affairs, both on and off the field, but match referee Sabah Abid kept the lid firmly on the pressure cooker.

Al-Shurta came to the Franso Hariri Stadium as league leaders, and from early on it seemed that their coach Thair Jassam had set up his team to defend and try to grab a point. The current league champions Arbil, with two games in hand, trailed the clubs at the top of the table and needed a victory to appease their trophy hungry fans, who have become accustomed to winning over the last few years, after their dismal 3-0 defeat at the hands of Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya a week ago.

The sound of the trumpets bellowed throughout the stadium, Kurdish flags and the club colours of yellow and blue were flown while the unrelenting chants of the home fans got louder, as the arena began to fill up during the first half. With the home fans urging their team on, Arbil gradually began to dominate possession and take the game to Al-Shurta.

However the home side’s two playmakers, Hulgard Mulla Mohammed and Nabil Sabah were unable to carve out an opening for strikers Loay Salah and Amjad Radhi. It was the same story in the second half, with the contribution of Arbil’s top scorer Amjad non-existent. He did come close on 78 minutes but fired over from six yards.

Their best chance came on 28 minutes, when Hulgard’s right wing cross-cum-shot was pushed over the crossbar by custodian Mohammed Hamed, who was injured in the process.

Al-Shurta’s talisman and captain Nashat came to life in the last fifteen minutes of the first half and was at the heart of the visitor’s best moments, confidently spreading the ball around the field to his team-mates.

He was involved in an altercation with Saad Abdul-Amir, which caused the local fans to chant “Chees, Chees, Nashat”, to deride the Al-Shurta captain. One of the biggest cheers came, when Nashat was booked moments later. But he would have the last laugh.

The pantomime villain became central to Al-Shurta’s game plan, when their main attacking threat, centre forward Jean Michel N’lend, was substituted for left sided player Dhargham Ismail.

The 6ft 3 inches tall Cameroonian looked displeased with his coach’s decision to pull him off so early in the match, shaking his head in disgust, his captain had to have a quick word in his ear to encourage him to get off the field.

Nigerian Buba moved into N’lend position to spearhead the attack, and seconds after the change, the impressive Amjad Kelaf crossed into the box for Buba to score, however Arbil’s defence were able to clear the ball from danger.

The home fans sensed a goal but unfortunately for them, it came at the wrong end, with Nashat’s deft finish on 66 minutes giving the visitors the lead.

The 32-year-old delightfully sided footed Dhargham Ismail’s square-ball from the left wing, which the home keeper got a hand to but was unable to keep out.

In an attempt to get back into the match, Arbil’s Croatian coach Rodion Gačanin threw on Hawar Mulla Mohammed for his debut to the joy of the fans. The home faithful all stood to attention, to witness the player, wearing the No.26 jersey, make his long awaited debut for the club.

The player, who had recently married, had only received his ITC card a week earlier after his seemingly never-ending dispute with his former Iranian club Zobahan had been resolved.

Hawar was handed the captaincy but his only contribution was a bicycle kick on 71 minutes that went high and wide, however the attempt was given a big roar by the gratified fans. He later went closer with a free-kick on 83 minutes.

Al-Shurta’s coach Thair Jassam made changes, and the team went to a 5-4-1 formation to try and keep the home side at bay – leaving only Nashat up on his own.

The Emperors of the north, looking increasingly fatigued as the game wore on in the latter stages, desperately searched for an equaliser, and were offered a lifeline when the fourth official indicated six minutes of injury time, however it was Al-Shurta, who held on and claimed the victory and the three points.

Al-Shurta top the Iraqi league with 41 points after 19 games, ahead of Duhok, who beat Kirkuk 4-0, on 37 points and third placed Al-Zawraa on 34 points. Arbil, who have two games in hand against Zakho and Al-Minaa, stay in fifth position on 31 points.

Match Details:

Arbil: 22 Jalal Hassan; 3 Hardi Saimand, 2 Aleksandar Kosorić (16 Miran Khosro 71’), 23 Kosrat Baiz Ali, 14 Ivan Bukanya; 32 Nadim Sabagh (6 Mahdi Karim 56’), 25 Saad Abdul-Amir, 17 Nabil Sabah (15 Miran Karim 84’), 7 Hulgard Mulla Mohammed; 10 Amjad Radhi, 11 Loay Salah [c] (26 Hawar Mulla Mohammed 68’).

Al-Shurta: 23 Mohammed Hamed; 33 Paul Koulibaly, 25 Walid Salim (6 Qasim Zaidan 61’), 32 Ali Mohammed Alialah, 19 Ahmed Ayad; 5 Hussein Abdul-Wahid, 22 Innocent Félix Awoa Zoa, 15 Nashat Akram [c], 14 Amjad Kelaf (30 Ali Rahim 94’), 13 Minusu Buba (35 Ahmed Fadhil 67’); 21 Jean Michel N’Lend (3 Dhargham Ismail 52’).

Referee: Sabah Abid
Linesman: Jalil Al-Saifi & Ali Zaidan
Cautions: Jean Michel N’Lend 31’, Hulgard Mulla Mohammed 43’, Nashat Akram 63’, Hussein Abdul-Wahid 73’.

Jalal Abdul-Rahman blows lid on Gulf Cup scandal and tells the story behind Sattar Khalaf’s ban


Haidar Al-Radhi’s interview with former Iraqi goalkeeper of the 1970s, Jalal Abdul-Rahman on the 2007 Gulf Cup scandal and what really happened to the late Sattar Khalaf during the 1974 World Cup qualifiers in Sydney.

س- انت كنت مدربا لحراس المنتخب الوطني مع الكابتن اكرم سلمان في خليجي18 هل تتحدث لنا عن الملابسات التي حصلت للفريق العراقي بتلك البطولة؟

ج/ نعم ساتحدث واتحدث لان ماحصل في تلك البطولة امر مخجل جدا وسببه الرئيسي حسين سعيد رئيس الاتحاد السابق الذي اتصل بالمدرب اكرم سلمان في ساعة متاخرة من الليلة التي سبقت مباراة العراق والسعودية واخبره بانه اي سعيد قد اتفق مع الجانب السعودي على الخروج بالمباراة بنتيجة التعادل !!!! وقد ابلغنا المدرب سلمان بذلك وانا كنت معترضا على هكذا امر وكذلك المدرب وبعض اللاعبين وكانت الكارثة ان المنتخب السعودي لعب للفوز وتمكن من اقصاء الفريق العراقي الذي كان يمتلك فرصتين للترشح اضاعها بسبب حسين سعيد وجعلنا بموقف اضحك علينا الجميع!

س- ساعيدك لسنوات طويلة وتحديدا الى تصفيات مونديال المانيا والتي جرت في استراليا …

هنا قاطعني جلال عبد الرحمن وتحدث قبل ان اكمل سؤالي:

ج/ انا كنت اتمتع بعلاقة ودية طيبة مع الراحل الحارس ستار خلف وصدقني كانت هناك حالة تنافسية معه سيما وهو لم يفسح لي المجال وبالتاكيد ذلك يعود لكونه حارسا لم ولن يتكرر في العراق وفي اسيا ولاابالغ اذا قلت في العالم !!!

المشكلة حصلت في تلك الليلة المشؤومة وساذكرها امام الله وامامك وللتاريخ :

جاء ستار الى مكان كنا نجلس فيه في الفندق الذي يقيم فيه الوفد العراقي وكان مخمورا !!! وتحدث الى صاحب خزعل وانا كنت جالسا بجانبه وطلب منه ان يعطيه ( قنينة كحول كان صاحب قد اشتراها قبل ساعات) ووعده ستار بان يعوضه بدلا عنها حال الوصول لمطار بغداد ومن السوق الحرة فيه …. صاحب خزعل اعاطاه اياها وانا قلت لصاحب كيف تعطيه اياها وهو اصلا مخمور؟ فاجابني صاحب قائلا بالحرف الواحد: انا متقصد ان اعطيه اياها كي نتفرج عليه بعد ساعات !!!!(كان صاحب على خلاف مع ستار وكان ستار يمازح صاحب خزعل دوما وبطريقة استفزازية ولدت للاسف حالة حقد لدى خزعل !!!!

بعد ساعات وبعد ان اخذ الكحول من ستار الكثير الكثير بحيث فقد الوعي وقام بتصرفات هو نفسه غير مدرك لها .. استغلها صاحب خزعل وقام بابلاغ ادارة الوفد سواء الراحلين حسون ام فهد جواد الميرة وكذلك السيد مؤيد البدري الذي جلبه صاحب الى غرفة ستار وقد كان ستار نائما على سريره وعاريا تماما والغرفة مباحة للجميع بالمشاهدة !!!

مؤيد قام بالبصق على ستار وخرج مسرعا يبلغ فهد الميرة وكان ماكان !!!!!!!!!

رحم الله ستار لقد اخذت الشهرة الكبيره التي صاحبته اخذت منه الكثير وجعلته منتشيا بها وغير مدرك لتصرفاته

وانا اقول الان بان ستار خلف حارس مرمى لم يصل الى مستواه احدا ابدا

ملاحظة: حذفت الكثير من اجابة الكابتن جلال عبد الرحمن بما يخص فقرة الراحل ستار خلف … والتي قسم منها يؤكد بما لابس فيه برائته من التهمة التي وجهت اليه وانهت حياته الرياضية والاجتماعية مبكرا!!!

Read full interview here

Hakim Shaker’s World Youth Cup dilemma


When Iraq U-20 team coach Hakim Shaker was asked on the night of December 1, 2012 by FA president Najih Humoud to take charge of the national team on a temporary basis, the Iraqi youth would never have thought that he would be faced with the destruction of his youth side and the dilemma of forming a new youth team only two months before the FIFA World Youth Championship in Turkey. But this is just what the Iraqi coach now faces.

In his thirteen matches and two month spell at the helm of the national side, the coach blooded several of his youth team players at senior international level, and they now inadvertently form part of Serbian coach Vladimir Petrović’s squad.

The problem stems from the fact that the national side and the youth team will play key matches in the space of a few days in the month of June.

The Iraqi seniors will play a crucial World Cup qualifier on June 4 against Oman in Muscat, and a further two qualifying games against Japan on June 11 in Doha and in Brisbane against the Socceroos on June 18.

Five days later, the Iraqi youth team will kick-off their World Youth Cup campaign in Antalya against Peter Taylor’s England.

This has forced the FA to keep several members of Hakim’s youth team with the seniors and ask the youth coach to look for new replacements for his own youth side.

On April 8, the FA held showdown talks with the youth team coaching staff. The meeting came a day after the coach lamented the FA’s belated preparations for the World Youth Championship, claiming that the FA had neglected the youth team after he had handed in a training regime to FA officials, so that the FA would organise training camps and warm-up matches for the team.

The coach has been on a collision course with the Iraqi FA since being told to look for new players, with the youth team’s key players such as Ali Adnan, Saif Salman and Mohanad Abdul-Rahim incorporated into the senior set-up. The coach has been in charge of the youth team for three years and put together the Iraqi youth side that reached the finals of the Asian Youth Championship for the first time since 2000.

Hakim apparently suggested to the FA that the Serbian Petrović should take over both the senior and youth teams to solve the problem, but this was turned down.

However it seems that things are not so rosy with the coach and the FA, with Hakim seemingly irked by the FA’s order for him to look for new players to take the place of his beloved golden generation.

The coach now has the unenviable task of putting a completely new youth side, with the FIFA deadline for naming the preliminary squad looming.