20/11/2014, King Fahad International Stadium, Riyadh
IRAQ 0-2 UAE [HT 0-0]
SCORERS: Ali Ahmed Mabkhout Muhsin Al-Hajeri 50′ (0-1), Ali Ahmed Mabkhout Muhsin Al-Hajeri 61′ (0-2)

IRAQ: (4-4-1-1)
[12] Jalal Hassan [Arbil] [13/0]
[2] Ahmed Ibrahim [Al-Ajman-UAE] [39/0]
[4] Mustafa Nadhim [Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya] [9/3]
[3] Ali Bahjat [Al-Shurta] [19/0]
[21] >46′ Ali Faiz [Arbil] [7/0]
[18] Mahdi Karim [c] [Al-Shurta] [107/11]
[17] >71′ Amjad Kelaf [Al-Shurta] [16/0]
[8] Saif Salman [Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya] [33/0]
[10] Saad Abdul-Amir [Arbil] [34/1]
[11] Humam Tariq [Al-Dhafra SCC-UAE] [21/0]
[13] Karrar Jassim [Esteghlal Tehran-IRN] [63/6]
[7] >65′ Hamadi Ahmed [Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya] [32/6]
[15] Justin Meram [Columbus Crew SC-US] [3/0]
[20] Amjad Radhi [Arbil] [33/2]
COACH: Hakim Shaker

UAE: 1 Ali Khaseif Humaid Khaseif Al-Hosani [c]; 3 Walid Abbas Murad Yousuf Al-Buloushi, 6 Mohanad Salim Ghazi Al-Amim, 14 Abdul-Aziz Mohamed Sanqour Qambar Al-Maazmi, 23 Mohammed Ahmed Ali Gharib; 8 Majid Hassan Ahmed Abdullah Al-Ahmadi, 13 Khamis Ismail Khamis Zayed (4 Habib Rardan Abdullah Fardan Al-Fardan 46′); 21 Omar Abdul-Rahman Ahmed Al-Raqi Al-Amoudi “Ammouri”, 15 Ismail Salim Ismail Saeed Al-Hammadi (2 Mohammed Abdul-Rahman Ahmed Al-Raqi Al-Amoudi 46); 11 Ahmed Khalil Sebait Mubarak Al-Juneibi, 7 Ali Ahmed Mabkhout Muhsin Al-Hajeri (Mohammed Fawzi Johar Faraj Abdullah 78′)
COACH: Mahdi Ali Hassan Redha

Referee: Fahad Al Mirdasi (Saudi Arabia)
Linesmen: Ahmed Faqihi (Saudi Arabia) & Ali Mohammed Al-Hasani (Yemen)
Fourth Official: Jamil Juma Abdul-Hussein Mohammed (Bahrain)
Cautions: Khamis Ismail Khamis Zayed 7′, Abdul-Aziz Mohamed Sanqour Qambar Al-Maazmi 25′, Mohammed Abdul-Rahman Ahmed Al-Raqi Al-Amoudi 65, Saif Salman 84′.
Note: 1 Ali Yasin, 22 Mohammed Hamed, 5 Saad Natiq, 21 Ali Faiz, 7 Hamadi Ahmed, 9 Ahmed Yasin, 17 Amjad Kelaf, 19 Mahdi Kamil, 23 Marwan Hussein. Salam Shaker and Ali Adnan suspended. Ali Adnan and Yaser Kasim had returned to their clubs after the end of the FIFA match day calendar from November 10-18.



17/11/2014, Prince Faisal bin Fahad Stadium, Riyadh
IRAQ 1-1 OMAN [HT 1-0]
SCORERS: Yaser Kasim 14′ (1-0), Ahmed Mubarak ‘Kanu’ Obaid Al-Mahaijri 51′ pen (1-1)

IRAQ: (4-4-1-1)
[12] Jalal Hassan [Arbil] [12/0]
[2] Ahmed Ibrahim [Al-Ajman-UAE] [38/0]
[14] Salam Shaker [Al-Shurta] [74/4]
[6] Ali Adnan [Çaykur Rizespor Kulübü-TUR] [27/1]
[18] Mahdi Karim [c] [Al-Shurta] [106/11]
[8] Saif Salman [Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya] [32/0]
[16] Yaser Kasim [Swindon Town FC-ENG] [5/1]
[21] >84′ Ali Faiz [Arbil] [6/0]
[11] Humam Tariq [Al-Dhafra SCC-UAE] [20/0]
[9] Ahmed Yasin [Örebro SK-SWE] [28/1]
[17] >65′ Amjad Kelaf [Al-Shurta] [15/0]
[15] Justin Meram [Columbus Crew SC-US] [2/0]
[20] Amjad Radhi [Arbil] [32/2]
[10] >65′ Saad Abdul-Amir [Arbil] [33/1]
COACH: Hakim Shaker

OMAN: 1 Ali Abdullah Harib Al-Habsi; 2 Mohammed Salih Ali Al-Musalami,
11 Saad Suhail Jumaa Al-Mukhaini, 3 Jaber Mohammed Sagher Al-Owaisi (16 Ali Suliman Rashid Al-Busaidi 58′), 13 Abdul-Salam Amer Jumaa Al-Mukhaini; 12 Ahmed Mubarak ‘Kanu’ Obaid Al-Mahaijri, 10 Qasim Saeed Sanjour Hardan, 8 Eid Mohammed Eid Al-Farsi, 6 Raed Ibrahim Salih (Saeed Salim Al-Razaiqi 79′); 9 Abdul-Aziz Mubarak Humaid Al-Maqbali (19 Fahad Khamis Rashid Al-Jalaboubi 70′), 20 Mohammed Ali Humaid Al-Siyabi.
COACH: Paul Le Guen (France)

Referee: Abdullah Dor Mohammed Balideh Al-Buloushi (Qatar)
Linesmen: Ramzan Saeed Al-Naemi (Qatar) & Saoud Ahmed Al-Maqaleh (Qatar)
Fourth Official: Benjamin Jon “Ben” Williams (Australia)
Cautions: Salam Shaker 44′, Ali Adnan 49′, Humam Tariq 52′, Mahdi Karim 72′.

Iraq 0-1 Kuwait

14/11/2014, Prince Faisal bin Fahd Stadium, Riyadh
IRAQ 0-1 KUWAIT [HT 0-0]
SCORERS: Fahad Salih Hussein Al-Enazi 90′ (+2) (0-1)

IRAQ: (4-4-1)
[12] Jalal Hassan [Arbil] [11/0]
[2] Ahmed Ibrahim [Al-Ajman-UAE] [37/0]
[14] Salam Shaker [Al-Shurta] [73/4]
[6] Ali Adnan [Çaykur Rizespor Kulübü-TUR] [26/1]
[18] Mahdi Karim [c] [Al-Shurta] [105/11]
[8] Saif Salman [Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya] [31/0]
[16] Yaser Kasim [Swindon Town FC-ENG] [4/0]
[11] Humam Tariq [Al-Dhafra SCC-UAE] [19/0]
[9] Ahmed Yasin [Örebro SK-SWE] [27/1]
[17] >69′ Amjad Kelaf [Al-Shurta] [14/0]
[15] Justin Meram [Columbus Crew SC-US] [1/0]
[23] Marwan Hussein [Al-Shurta] [4/0]
[13] >81′ Karrar Jassim [Esteghlal Tehran-IRN] [62/6]
COACH: Hakim Shaker

KUWAIT: 22 Nawaf Khalid Al-Khalidi; 3 Fahad Awodh Shahin Shihan, 4 Hussein Fadhil Ali, 6 Fahad Al-Hajeri, 13 Mesaed Nada Al-Enazi; 14 Talal Ahmed Al-Amer (5 Talal Naif Al-Enazi 78′), 21 Ali Al-Maqseed (11 Fahad Ibrahim Al-Ansari 86′), 15 Walid Ali Hussein Jumaa (10 Abdul-Aziz Ahmed Mashan Al-Enazi 61′), 7 Fahad Salih Hussein Al-Enazi; 17 Badir Ahmed Abdul-Aziz Al-Mutawa, 20 Nassir Yousef Al-Suliman.
COACH: Jorvan Vieira (Brazil)

Referee: Damir Skomina (Slovenia)
Linesmen: Jure Praprotnik (Slovenia) & Robert Vukan (Slovenia)
Fourth Official: Abdullah Dor Mohammed Balideh Al-Buloushi (Qatar)
Cautions: Badir Ahmed Abdul-Aziz Al-Mutawa 14′, Fahad Salih Hussein Al-Enazi 38′, Ali Adnan 42′, Salam Shaker 50′, Fahad Awodh Shahin Shihan 55′, Ahmed Ibrahim 82′, Mesaed Nada Faliyan Al-Enezi 86′.

Justin Meram: The most famous Justin in Iraq

The past few months there has been only one name the Iraqi fans have been waiting to see pull on the green jersey of Al-Montakhab, the number No.9 of Major League Soccer (MLS) club Columbus Crew, Justin Meram. They will get their first glimpses of the player at the Gulf Cup in Riyadh, which starts on Friday.

It’s been a prolonged wait for the MLS player. It was two years ago when he was contacted by one inquisitive Iraqi fan scouring the world’s globe for footballers of Iraqi descent. Meram had no idea that a simple question, six words “Hey buddy, are you originally Iraqi?” would see him realise his childhood dream of representing the land of his ancestors.

Nothing can hold him back, not even the deranged long-haired unwashed marauding 7th century styled holey fighters of the ISIS, ISIL, IS (Da’ish) army (riding on their Japanese-made pick-up trucks and carrying the US-made weapons of the kufar) could prevent him from being issued his Iraqi passport after they had overran and marched on the city of Mosul, the land of Meram’s forefathers, in August.

Iraqi activist Steven Nabil living in the United States, attempting to bridge the gap and help aide Iraqi Christian, Muslim and Yazidi refugees who were escaping the persecution of ISIS who had invaded their towns and villages, made a full hearted video plea to the Iraqi Prime Minister and to all of the Iraqi government to help the player get his passport. He spoke about the town of Tel Kaif where Meram’s family were originally from, which was under the control of Daish, making it impossible for the player to gain his papers to process his Iraqi passport, with his close family members of the player living in tents.

Nabil concluded that the displaced people from Tel Kaif and other towns living in tents were feeling that their nation didn’t want them and asked what would they feel if they saw a footballer from their own town play for Iraq?

His Passport

After previously using the mughtarabeen (Expatriates) to pacify the fans, the intentions from the Iraqi coach Hakim Shaker to get Meram his passport seemed sincere, after the Iraqi FA dispatched team manager Basil Gorgis to the United States in March this year, to meet Meram’s parents and finalise his documents for the player’s Iraqi passport. Basil, a former Iraqi international who played at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, attended his club’s MLS match with Philadelphia Union in Ohio, which Columbus Crew won 2-1, Meram came on after 80 minutes and after the match which Crew won 2-1, the team manager met with Meram and his coach Gregg Berhalter, where the player expressed his desire to play for Iraq.

In Baghdad, the Iraqi coach met with the Director of Iraqi Passport Office, Major General Tahsin Abdul-Razzaq Flaih, regarding the issuance of passport to the expatriate player, to speed up the process. The following week there were reports that his papers were discarded on an FA desk while Hakim was declaring the utmost urgency of the matter, the passport procedures were never completed.

Five months passed and with ISIS taking over the province of Nineveh, where Meram’s parents originated from, Basil Gorgis explained that the steps to issue the player’s passport had passed “a number of obstacles” due to the events in Mosul however the FA’s Kamil Zaghir pointed out that they had asked Mosul-based FA referee Sabhan Ahmed to complete Meram’s papers and noted that the FA had the support of the Chaldean Sacred Heart Church in Tel Kaif (Tel Keppe) who confirmed the birth certificates of Meram’s father, which was registered in their church records in addition to his mother who was born in Mosul.

Under the Council of Ministers Iraqi Nationality Law No. 26 of 2006 on the possibility of obtaining the Iraqi nationality, the law mentions that “a person shall be considered Iraqi if, he/she is born to an Iraqi father or an Iraqi mother” and with the US State Department, the Iraqi consulate in Michigan and local Mosul authorities confirming the nationality of Meram’s parents, it meant Meram could apply for an Iraqi passport qualifying through his parents.

However it was only until Basil Gorgis met with a member of the Iraqi Parliament, Jumaa Diwan Al-Bahadli at the Nationality Directorate to discuss the matter of Meram’s papers, that the long-running process was completed and days later on October 15, Meram was issued with his national identification card and the following day, Justin Hikmat Aziz’s passport was issued and officially became eligible to play for Asood Al-Rafidain.

‘We want Justin’

A social media campaign was launched on Facebook and a hashtag #WeWantJustinMeram or #كلنا نريد ميرام was started by a group of Iraqi fans to get the Iraq FA to notice the Iraqi talent in the MLS. The main drive for Justin’s inclusion in the national side came from the website, a site which highlights and promotes Iraqi footballers based around the world,

On their site it describes itself as a sports website with “a voluntary working committee” that have took it upon themselves to search for Iraqi professional players around the world, “to put the spotlight on them” and “build bridges between them and the sporting community”. And importantly to send a message to the Iraqi sports media and to give a clear picture for all officials and coaches of the Iraqi national team to choose the best and see who is the most suitable to wear the Iraqi national jersey, “that is the right of all sons of our one nation.”

April this year, the founder and owner of the website, Dubai-based student Yousif Saeed Al-Khafaji was appointed as an Iraq FA coordinator under the lengthy title “Coordinator of the files of expatriate players” and it was Al-Khafaji who had quizzed Meram on July 22, 2012 over his Iraqi ancestry.

Meram is not the first expatriate as the Iraqi sports media has called them, to play for Iraq after the 2003 War. Under German coach Wolfgang Sidka in June 2011, seven professionals Europe-based players were called up for a training camp in Arbil, after an engineer named Akam Qader and two other Iraqi football fans had handed over a dossier they had compiled of players of Iraqi origin plying their trade in Europe.

Austrian national Murad Gerdi, playing in Yemen was the first to play for Iraq, then came former Feyenoord graduate Osama Rashid, then Ahmed Yasin from the Swedish club Orebro SK, German-born defender David Haidar and recently English based Yaser Kasim has made his bow for the national side. Yasin and Kasim are now both regular members of the Iraqi squad and will play alongside Meram at the Gulf Cup.

Destined to play soccer

Justin Meram christened Justin Joseph Meram however his Iraqi passport states his name as Justin Hikmat Aziz (with his first name, father’s name and the name of his grandfather) was born on December 4, 1988 in Shelby Township, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit.

Justin was the youngest of Hikmat “Sam” Aziz Meram and Lamia Mansour Hormis’ four sons. His parents are Chaldean Catholics from Tal Kaif (Tel Keppe) in Mosul, who immigrated to the United States and met in the Detroit area, where an estimated 70,000 to 80,000 Chaldeans have made their home. His father came to the US in 1967 while his mother arrived eight years later.

Meram is following in the footsteps of a host of legendary Iraqi Christians footballers that have represented the Lions of Mesopotamia, from Youra Eshaya, Ammo Baba, Douglas Aziz to 1986 World Cup member Basil Gorgis, however with the present worrying scenes in the northern regions of Iraq, including in Mosul, where Meram’s family came from, his inclusion and appearance for Iraq will have a stronger more poignant message to the world and the Middle East.

But it all could’ve been very different for Justin, who in his school days had been a placekicker on the American Football team at Utica Eisenhower High School and after he was unable to gain a place to play college ‘soccer’, Meram quit the game for a while and was considering playing college football for Arizona State, where his family had moved. But he was spotted by a student playing football at a local park and asked if he was interested in playing at his college, Yavapi College. Meram had never heard of it but decided to enrol.

There Meram was a standout player in his two years at the community college, leading the Yavapai Roughriders to back-to-back NJCAA National Championships titles while earning a host of individual honours and accolades including two consecutive National Junior College Player of the Year awards, Meram set a school record for 132 points and finished second all-time in goals and assists with 51 goals and 30 assists in 52 matches!

He moved on to the University of Michigan, where he scored 24 goals in two seasons and on January 13, 2011, Meram was drafted as the No.15 pick in the first round of the MLS Superdraft in Baltimore to play for Columbus Crew. This season, Meram had his best ever season in the MLS, scoring 8 goals, 5 assists in 28 games, despite being sent off in his last game of the season for Crew.

From Mosul, to the Selby Township, Michigan, Arizona, Columbus and tomorrow Riyadh, Justin Meram has come a long way, and the Iraqi jumhour at the Gulf Cup are all waiting to be Meram-ers.

The ever changing Iraqi Gulf Cup squad

The initial 44 man squad was announced by however it was a 50 man squad (see below). Under rules, a 35 man squad has to be submitted NO later than a month before the start of the Gulf Cup tournament (so before October 13) and any FA can nominate 5 players from the preliminary squad who could replace any of the 23-man squad (which can be named three days before the start of the tournament)

50 Gulf Cup Preliminary Squad submitted September 9, 2014
GOALKEEPERS: Jalal Hassan (Arbil), Ali Yasin (Naft Al-Janoub), Mohammed Hamed (Al-Shurta), Mohammed Salih (Al-Karkh), Mohammed Kasid (Al-Shurta), Nour Sabri (Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya)
DEFENDERS: Dhargham Ismail (Al-Shurta), Mustafa Nadhim (Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya), Walid Salim (Al-Shurta), Hardi Saimand (Arbil), Hawbir Moustafa (MVV Maastricht, Netherlands), Ali Adnan (Çaykur Rizespor, Turkey), Salam Shaker (Al-Shurta), Ali Faiz (Arbil), Saad Natiq (Al-Masafi), Ahmed Ibrahim (Ajman, UAE), Samih Saeed (Nadi Baghdad), Mohammed Qabil (Nadi Baghdad), Mohammed Yaqub (St.Mirren, Scotland), Mahdi Karim (Al-Shurta), Ali Bahjat (Al-Shurta), Ridha Nasrallah (Nadi Baghdad)
MIDFIELDERS: Saif Salman (Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya), Hussein Abdul-Wahid (Al-Minaa), Saad Abdul-Amir (Arbil), Mahdi Kamil (Al-Shurta), Humam Tariq (Al-Ahly Dubai, UAE), Ali Abbas (Sydney FC, Australia), Zana Allée (Rennes France), Nashat Akram (Al-Shurta), Ahmed Abbas (Naft Al-Janoub), Ahmed Yasin (Örebro SK, Sweden), Yaser Kasim (Swindon Town, England), Osama Rashid (Alphense Boys, Netherlands), Rewan Amin (SC Heerenveen U21, Netherlands), Mohamed Mahmoed (PSV Eindhoven U21, Netherlands), Bashar Resan (Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya), Hulgard Mulla Mohammed (Arbil), Amjad Kelaf (Al-Shurta),
FORWARDS: Younis Mahmoud (Unattached), Alaa Abdul-Zahra (Al-Shurta), Hussein Ali Wahid (Al-Minaa), Farhan Shakur (Al-Zawraa), Marwan Hussein (Al-Shurta), Hamadi Ahmed (Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya), Mustafa Jouda (Al-Naft), Justin Meram (Columbus Crew, USA), Mohanad Abdul-Rahim (JSK Kabylie, Algeria), Amjad Radhi (Arbil), Mustafa Karim (Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya)

واضاف شاكر ان ” القائمة النهائية لتشكيلة المنتخب الذي شيخوض منافسات بطولة كاس الخليج المقبلة في الرياض في الرياض هم كل من ، جلال حسن, نور صبري محمد حميد وعلي ياسين لحراسة المرمى وكل من احمد ابراهيم, , مصطفى ناظم ,علي رحمية ,سلام شاكر علي فائز ,علي بهجت ,علي عدنان ,هاوبير مصطفى ,مهدي كريم ,وليد سالم ,سامح سعيد ,و احمد ياسين,ياسر قاسم, ضرغام اسماعيل ,بشار رسن ,همام طارق , حسين عبد الواحد , اسامة رشيد , سعد عبد الامير ,علي عباس ,سيف سلمان ,سعد ناطق , كرار جاسم ,جستن ميرام , مهند عبد الرحيم , مصطفى كريم , علاء عبد الزهرة , ومروان حسين , يونس محمود ,امجد راضي” October 11

Source: Iraqpressagency

سمى مدرب المنتخب الوطني لكرة القدم حكيم شاكر 35 لاعباً كقائمة اولية لبطولة خليجي 22 المقرر اقامتها الشهر المقبل في مدينة جدة السعودية وقال عضو اتحاد الكرة كامل زغير في تصريح لرياضة وشباب ” ان المدرب حكيم شاكر قدم للاتحاد قائمة باسماء اللاعبين الـ 35 وهم كل من ( محمد حميد – جلال حسن – علي ياسين – ضرغام اسماعيل – علي بهجت – سلام شاكر – احمد ابراهيم – سعد ناطق – محمد قابل – سامح سعيد – هوبير مصطفى – وليد سالم – مصطفى ناظم – سيف سلمان – علي عدنان – همام طارق – امجد راضي – مروان حسين – احمد ياسين – علي عباس – بشار رسن – ياسر قاسم – مهدي كامل – يونس محمود – حمادي احمد – احمد عباس – محمد كاصد – حسين عبد الواحد – سعد عبد الامير – فرحان شكور – حسين علي واحد – علاء عبد الزهرة – مهدي كريم – مصطفى جودة – هولكورد ملا محمد ) ، واضاف زغير ان الجهاز التدريبي للمنتخب سيختار من هذه القائمة 23 لاعباً يشارك بهم في بطولة الخليج ، الجدير بالاشارة ان المدرب حكيم شاكر استبعد امجد كلف وعلي فائز من هذه القائمة لاسباب لا زالت مجهولة. October 12

Omitted: Justin Meram, Amjad Kelaf, Ali Faiz, Nour Sabri, Mustafa Karim, Mohanad Abdul-Rahim, Ali Rahema, Karrar Jassim.
Submitted: Mohammed Qabil, Hussein Ali Wahid, Mustafa Jowda, Hamadi Ahmed, Farhan Shakur, Ali Abbas, Hulgard Mulla Mohammed, Mohammed Kasid, Ahmed Abbas.

Source: Sport & Youth

قال زغير ان القائمة تتألف من 34 لاعبا هم يونس محمود وسلام شاكر وياسر قاسم واحمد ياسين وسيف سلمان وجلال حسن ومحمد حميد وعلي ياسين واحمد ابراهيم وعلي بهجت وبشار رسن ومهدي كريم ومهدي كامل وحمادي احمد وهمام طارق وامجد كلف ومصطفى ناظم ومروان حسين وضرغام اسماعيل وسعد عبدالامير واحمد عباس ووليد سالم وعلي عدنان وحسين عبدالواحد وسعد ناطق وسامح سعيد وعلي عباس وحسين علي واحد وهلكورد ملا محمد ومصطفى جودة وكرار جاسم وجستن ميرام وامجد راضي ورضا نصرالله. October 29

Omitted: Mohammed Kasid, Mohammed Qabil, Alaa Abdul-Zahra
Submitted: Justin Meram, Karrar Jassim, Amjad Kelaf, Ridha Nasrallah.

Source: Al-Masalah

يذكر ان قائمة المنتخب الاولية المكونة من 35 لاعب (بينهم 8 محترفين) ضمت يونس محمود ، سلام شاكر ، ياسر قاسم ، احمد ياسين ، سيف سلمان ، جلال حسن ، محمد حميد ، علي ياسين ، احمد ابراهيم ، علي بهجت ، بشار رسن ، مهدي كريم ، مهدي كامل ، حمادي احمد ، همام طارق ، امجد كلف ، مصظفى ناظم ، مروان حسين ، ضرغام اسماعيل ، سعد عبد االامير، احمد عباس ، وليد سالم ، حسين عبد الواحد خلف ، سعد ناطق ، سامح سعيد ، علي عباس ، حسين علي واحد ، هلكرد الملا محمد ، مصطفى جودة ، كرار جاسم محمد ، جستن جوزيف ميرام ، امجد راضي ، مهند عبدالرحيم. November 3

Omitted: Ali Abbas, Ridha Nasrallah.
Submitted: Mohanad Abdul-Rahim,

Source: Iraqi Players

Which one is the correct squad?