Interview with former Iraqi coach Abdelilah Mohammed Hassan


Abdelilah Mohammed Hassan managed Iraq on two occasions in 1968 and in 1972, and won league titles with Al-Farqa Al-Thalatha and Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya. He speaks about his early life in Mosul, and his brief playing career in Baghdad, his time forming the first team in Duhok, and how he befriended Brazilian trainer Coutinho who was technical coordinator of the Seleção and spent time with the Brazilian team at the 1974 World Cup. He was both a player and a coach.

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Kirkuk Messi – Looking to Europe at 11


He’s touted as the next big thing on Kirkuk’s local football scene, standing at just 4 foot 4 inches and weighing just under 5 stone, Yar Saeed has been interesting clubs in Belgium and the Netherlands and at the age of just 11 it seems he has the world at his feet.

Yar Saeed Wahid Abbas was born in Arbil on October 24, 2002 and his ball skills and goalscoring ability with junior teams in Kirkuk have earned the youngster plaudits and last year was commended by the Iraqi Olympic Committee.

With his close ball control and the trickles of goals, the locals bestowed the name of ‘Messi’ on the young goalscorer, and when he met the Iraqi Olympic Committee representative in Kirkuk Harbi Khalild last year, he told him ‘You play just like Messi, I’ll name you Messi of Kirkuk’.


Recently he caught the attention of several European clubs after an Iranian Kurdish coach Ata Abdullah Bokani Yarahmadi based in the Netherlands, spotted his talent after watching some of his videos online and contacted several football clubs to give the Kirkuk Messi a trial.

He was offered a chance to train at the De Jong Academy in Tilburg by the head of the academy Marco De Jong, with trials with K.V. Turnhout and Royal Antwerp, and also made contact with scouts from PSV Eindhoven and Willem II Tilburg to watch the player. According to De Jong, Yar will arrive in the Netherlands in May for 14 days to train at the Academy and have trials with Dutch and Belgian clubs.

FIFA encourages ‘dissolved’ Iraqi FA to implement CAS ruling


FIFA’s general secretary Jerome Valcke encouraged ‘dissolved’ Iraqi FA to implement CAS requirements, six months after the Court of Arbitration made its ruling. The Iraq FA elections were expected to take place in January, and then on April 20, however both were postponed because of internal problems in the Iraq FA, and backstabbing officials and their cliques looking for seats on the new FA ‘tourism and sightseeing’ administration. FIFA has called the whole affair an ‘internal matter’. Iraqi Football in crisis and no end in sight.