The final nail in the coffin

As I predicted almost three months ago, Abdul-Khaliq Masoud was named the new President of the Iraq Football Association earlier today and Al-Mulla claims he will rid the FA of corruption. The new saviour of Iraqi football?

This should be a call for celebration but anyone that has followed Iraqi football in the past ten years, will only feel that history is just repeating itself.

We’ve seen it all before. First it was Hussein Saeed, and his two ‘holey’ disciples Najih and Al-Mullah, and then the two vice presidents turned on their former president, and now Mullah did the same to Najih as he and Najih had done to Hussein Saeed.

Let us have a look at why so many people will look at this as a continuation of the harms of the FA from 2003 under Hussein Saeed and Najih Humoud. Abdul-Khaliq Masoud is part of the same lineage, in the ten years he has been in the FA he has worked the same, and I doubt he will do anything to return Iraqi football to the summit of Asian football.

This is the man that was head of the Iraq League fixture committee, while on the board of Arbil, he postponed games for his club to gain an advantage in the league title race for the past seven years.

This is a man that once turned to Akram Salman and told him to replace a forward. This is not a man of forward thinking. In his interviews with the Iraqi FA when he was the treasurer of the FA, he smiled and grinned when he stated that the Iraq FA had no contract with Adnan Hamad and Egil Olsen, as if it was something to be proud of. In retrospect that statement came back to bite him in the backside when Egil Olsen and his assistant Otto Ulseth complained to FIFA about their unpaid wages, and the FA were forced to pay the Norwegians their money.

If this is the saviour of the Iraq FA then God help us all.

The problem is not with the candidates but the general assembly of the Iraq FA itself, a group of self-interest driven persons, who look at Iraqi football as an amateur sport, they use as a full-time hobby, even travel the world in the tourist administration of the Iraq FA and have no desire or any will to go forward. They’re happy to stay at the level they are now, sitting like an old man in a rocking chair. The philosophy of our post-2003 generation of leaders.

Iraqi football is sliding into the abyss, there’s no planning at any level, nor is there any working relationship or communication between the main sports bodies, the Ministry of Youth, Iraqi Olympic Committee and the Iraq FA. The circumstances mirrors Iraq’s political situation, where parties or cliques continue wrangling (but continue to pick up their pay cheques) instigating only impasse in the political system, and seeing no progress whatsoever, this is the identical state of Iraqi football and sports in general.

The reason why I don’t see Abdul-Khaliq Masoud stirring Iraqi football away from corruption, tazweer and the rest of backward thinking prevalent in the Iraqi game, is that ‘If you wear Caesar’s clothes you must behave like Caesar’, and Al-Mulla over the past 10 years has not been an example of a man of principle and virtue. If you want to know about Al-Mullah’s credentials as a football president, read Hussein Saeed 2003-2011 or Najih Humoud 2011-2014. Use the media to spread lies and fabrications and when the truth comes out, deny, deny and deny. The manual of the previous football administration.

Even when Zico was stating the truth about his unpaid wages and the FA denied it, and posted the documents of the money transactions on their own website (confirming their guilt) and it only confirmed what Zico had stated that he had been short-changed by $500,000 US, the Iraq FA continued to deny it. This is the kind of people we’re dealing with. Outright idiots and liars that even if they are caught red-handed will deny it.

I remember someone once told me that an honest person wouldn’t be able to make it in Iraq, to carve out a life for himself or herself, only a cheat and a klawchi would be able to live in the current climate and survive, where the truth is a lie and a lie is the truth.

I have no hope for the generation born from 1930 to 1958, they’ve only proved to me their inability to find a solution to any problem, any kind of progression or bring ease to the lives of the Iraqi people from Saddam Hussein, to Ibrahim Al-Jafari, Ayad Allawi, Nouri Al-Maliki, Barzani, Al-Hashimi, Talabani and …. (Who did I miss out?). These people only look for their own interests, and after 11 years they still can’t bring electricity and water or basic facilities to the ordinary people of Iraq, let alone bring peace and political stability to the country.

Al-Mullah’s four-year term will be the same as the 10 previous years. I sit and wait for a new dawn, no delusional media-hyped ‘Arab Spring’, but Thawra Haqiqiya.

This new Iraqi Football Association should not be given any leeway, if they make any mistakes they should be held accountable because this is not a ‘new’ administration, it has been working and conspiring for the past 10 years, it’s time this adolescent, ignorant and unapologetic child was disciplined by the Iraqi jumhour for its mistakes. Hold them to everything they do, don’t be deceived by a single victory for the national side, or the fraudulent Iraqi U-27 shabab team.

Look at the level of our local and international teams, are we near to reaching the levels of teams such as Japan, South Korea, Australia or Iran, have we even improved in the past 10 years or are we going backwards?

The first time I returned to Iraq after the fall of Saddam 10 years ago, I told myself that we won’t see any real progress in Iraq for another 50 years, so only 40 years to wait.

Surat Al-Fatiha


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