Thank you Younis and Hakim but…


Great result from the Iraqi side, but I’m not going to pretend that everything is going to be better from here on. An FA in shambles, a coach (self proclaimed ‘best coach in Asia’) that makes endless statements and poor decisions (on and off the field) and does not expect the media to be against him, and if the team continues to depend on Younis Mahmoud in Australia – it will go nowhere.

China are and were poor, and had their own crisis before the game, even appointing their coach 6 days before the match in Sharjah. The whole team needs support, but it’s all about personalities in Iraq. If we lost would Ayad Allawi have come down on the pitch and hugged the coach and players. Wataniya and the rest of the empty words. Iraq needs truth, organisation, and more planning. The Iraqi FA is at loggerheads with the Ministry of Youth and the Olympic Committee, and Football Association members and life long friends are ready to back-stab each other (Najih Humoud and Abdul-Khaliq Masoud Al-Mulla), and for what, seats of power, though they would say they were doing it for Great Iraq.

Whenever I hear people of power in Iraq talk about their love for their country, I always think ‘actions speak louder than words’.  Talk is cheap. Personal interest always trumps nationalism despite all the overblown speeches and overacted rhetoric from our political, religious, sporting elite. ‘Iraq is this, and Iraq means this’, retorts another member of the Iraqi elite group. From everything that I’ve witnessed, I can only relay that Iraq is a milking cow to these people,  while unfortunately, the rest of the country, the poor and hardworking people are eating dirt, suffering daily hardships, and forced to carry this  corrupt system on their shoulders.

Great victory in Sharjah but if things behind the scenes don’t change, then don’t expect Iraq to challenge anyone, the game on Wednesday was Iraq’s final. The whole of Iraqi football from the stop-start league schedule, to the selection process for the national side, cronyism in the ‘tourism administration’ in the FA in appointing their coaches, to the newly announced list of nominees, all point to the fact that Iraqi football is in a crisis.

If beating China 3-1 and Indonesia 1-0 and 2-0 is enough to celebrate and believe that we can actually compete with the top nations in Asia then the Iraqi FA and the rest involved in the ‘Asian Cup qualifying project’ have successfully managed to delude the masses. Things need to change from the bottom up. The problem is neither the coach or any of the players, but the whole amoral and corrupt set-up – when will people at the top start to speak the truth rather than play with the emotions of the Iraqi people and make speeches that are more about theatrics than being of any actual substance.

In Iraq we believe and expect and demand better.

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