There’s nothing like the drama of a Clásico but in Iraq, it reads like a script from Francis Ford Coppola‘s The Godfather with Al-Zawraa’s head coach Emad Mohammed playing the leading role.
After the end of the Baghdad derby played in front of over 40,000 spectators at the Al-Shaab, there was an incident involving Al-Zawraa’s coach Emad Mohammed and a club supporter.
At 12:10am, coach Emad Mohammed phoned Amir Al-Maliki, a well-known Al-Zawraa supporter, after he had been interviewed by an Iraqi TV channel and asked him why he had told the Al-Baghdadiya TV station that the former Al-Zawraa player turned-head coach of the White Seagulls had been the reason for the defeat to arch rivals Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya.
Al-Maliki revealed to Al-Baghdadiya’s Studio Al-Malaab in a phone interview that the coach had then cursed his parents, who had both been martyred.
At 4pm on April 11, a day after the game, the coach phoned him once more and asked him if he was ready to apologise for his remarks but the fan refused and then the trainer went onto tell him that he was “a Baathi” and a member of the party and told the supporter to come to the Al-Zawraa club along with the others that had made similar comments blaming the coach for the defeat. But he bluntly refused to go and told him he wouldn’t support the club any longer. The Al-Zawraa coach allegedly told him, according to Mr Al-Maliki, that he would take him from his home and his wife!
The next day the Iraqi Supporters Club wanted to solve the issue between the two, but initially Al-Maliki refused to go to the club, and met near the Al-Zawraa Club at 8pm and then after meeting they said they should talk inside the coach’s home rather than outside, where Emad Mohammed and his brother Omran were, and in the attendance were other members of the Al-Zawraa Supporters Club and the Ultras, they attempted to reconcile their differences as sportsmen and said they should say Surat Al-Fatiha and start again, after an exchange of words between the two sides, the Al-Zawraa coach took out a gun and vented his anger at Amir Al-Maliki and again called him a Baathi and expelled him from the house by gunpoint!!!
Emad Mohammed went on the same Al-Baghdadiya TV sports show and explained that around 25 people had come to his house and that he hadn’t invited them and that they had had come to “attack” him he said and said that he had never phoned the supporter or made any such remarks to him. He demanded the Iraqi Prime Minister and the Iraqi armed forces to protect him from the football fans.
The trainer had been upset that Al-Maliki had gone to Al-Baghdadiya TV as he said that they were known for stirring trouble. After the El Clásico defeat to Al-Jawiya last Friday, the coach had also attacked Al-Iraqiya Sport TV presenter Husham Mohammed after what he claimed were unacceptable statements made by him and demanded from the Al-Zawraa president Falah Hassan for the club to boycott the channel and only until the intervention of Director General of the channel Hamza Hussein was the crisis ended, with a pledge that it wouldn’t be repeated in the future.
Emad Mohammed had handed-in his resignation as head coach of Al-Zawraa after the El Clásico defeat and wrote a statement on his Facebook account to explain why he had made his decision to step down. “the reason for my resignation is due to the failure of the club’s administration to take any action against some of the clubs supporters who attacked me after the match ended.”
He went onto say “some of the supporters accused me (according to a comment from an Iraqi journalists) of carrying arms and aiming it at their faces and threatening them and they did not stop attacking me through the means of social communication.”
The club administration intervened over the coach’s resignation and after mediation he overturned his decision, resuming his position as head coach 48 hours after the El Clásico crisis defeat to Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya, a game in which the coach was angered by the referee after a goal was ruled out for the White Seagulls.