Tuesday, 9 July 2013



Flag : Republic of Iraq
Iraq,a country popular for its exploits in 'war and bombing' are making headway in the on-going FIFA U20 tournament in Turkey,a country also in mild chaos recently;but it is quite unfortunate they are not receiving the deserving praise and hype to propel them for future heights from the pundits and connoisseurs of the game.
   Iraq U20 is one of only three teams to have all their players in the tourny plying their trade locally aside Cuba and Uzbekistan.Few expected them to come thus far albeit their wonderful performance in the Asian zone where they were runners-up,losing to a well respected South Korean side on penalty shoot-outs.
The mentally tough  Young Lions of Mesopotamia got a sweet revenge on their continental rivals South Korea when they knocked them out;at a bigger stage in Turkey during their quarter-final encounter via penalty shoot-outs after a thrilling encounter within the stipulated time of 90 minutes and extra time of 30 minutes ended 3 goals apiece.
   The Iraqis came to the FIFA tournament as one of the underdogs especially when they found themselves in a group with countries such as Egypt~African champions,Chile~South-American giants as well as England~a side that needs no introduction to this game.Less than few people gave them the benefit of the boubt that they were Asia's runners-up capable of pulling strings from the sky.But a much more resilient side at this year's tournamnent than any Asian side represented,smashed the odds and probabilities by rallying back from two goals down to clinch an all important draw against England in only few minutes away from stoppage time.They went on to defeat both the African champions Egypt and South-American giants Chile in their subsequent group games which saw them sit on top of the group with 7 points in comfort and warning other teams fairly.They went on to defeat both Paraguay and South Korea in the Round of 16 and quarter finals respectively booking their place in the semi-finals for the first time at a FIFA organised tournament against an equally resilient Uruguayan side at the surprise of most fans of the game.
  Whether they fail to make it to the ultimate grande finale or get there,nothing can be taken away from this history and record breaking Iraqi side who deserve the applause of all and sundry.
  Amidst their war torn country's state,these heroes bring joy and smile onto the faces of their natives.Without any iota of doubts some of these players are a bunch of delights to see in action and am quite convinced most are finding their names in the books of top scouts around the world and working tirelessly around the clock to secure relatively the dear signatures of these starlets' now before the transfer window shuts.
  Let us take a glance at the magicians doing the trick for the Young Lions of Mesopotamia  side :
    Hakeem Shaker Al-Azzawi
Hakeem Shaker Al-Azzawi (COACH OF IRAQ U20) : A man who decides to quit the senior national team of IRAQ in order to fully concentrate on this special breed of talents is undoubtedly one of the best managers at the tournament.Adding this unprecedented achievement to his CV he will be hailed back home as one of the nation's greatest assets or in fact their greatest,having been dubbed a 'runner-up specialist' back home after seeing Iraqi senior national side,olympic team as well as the U20 all come second best in their various continental competitions respectively.Hakeem is the first and only Iraqi coach to manage 3 Iraqi national teams (Iraq senior team, Olympic team and Youth team) at the same time,aside this great feat,he serves as the morale booster to these lads when it gets to the crunch and the master tactician for these boys.Already making records wherever he goes he has been vindicated and buttressed his words with actions when he quit the senior national side for these 'special talents'  and hopes to go farther than this point of his career. 

    Mohamed Hassan Hameed Farhan
Mohamed Hassan Hameed Farhan(GOALKEEPER/CAPTAIN) : One of the most enterprising and industrious as well as the busiest goalies of the tournament has been Iraqi's goalie who has entertained all fans of this game with his agility and heroic saves even in shoot outs against South Korea.Eventhough he sometimes looks indecisive and commits minor errors,he remains one of the best in the tournament making the most important of saves and rescuing his side when the need arises.He not only is the captain of this side but an ultimate leader who always is full of confidence on and off the pitch.Surely if scouts want to pick a potential world class keeper from this tourny;he certainly will be hard to overlook with regard to his  exploits and how youthful he is and performance put up so far.More than an inspirational leader in the side.
Ali Adnan Kadhim Al-Tameemi
     Ali Adnan Kadhim Al-Tameemi(DEFENDER/LEFT BACK) : Arguably the most impressive side-back in the tournament,Ali Adnan Kadhim Al-Tameemi burst from the back straight into the opposite  half of the field with some sublime footworks propelling him to go past defenders and midfielders with ease.Always brimming with energy and full of athletism coupled with his unrivalled strength,opponents find it a tough task taming the wild and audacious left-back who is often than not,seen in the third half of the field entertaining viewers with dazzling skills and screamers from long ranges.Inspite of his attacking prowess,Ali serves as a good pillar for his team when defending.With regard to his delivery crosses,overconfidence serves as his bane and falters on quite few occassions but looking at his tender age,with hard work he could overcome this and be a star to watch in the future.With little or no dispute the Baghdad FC defender could be landing a big contract abroad and also one of the prime candidates for the GOLDEN BALL award at the tournament.He also has experience with the olympic team and also scoring a couple of crucial goals for both the olympic and U20 side underlying his efficiency when he surges forward. 
    Spot on: Iraq's Faez converts from the penalty spot
    Ali Fayez Attiya
Ali Fayez Atiyah(DEFENDER/MIDFIELDER) : Another player worth mentioning is Ali Fayez Atiyah who has established himself as a 'dead ball' specialist or setpiece taker.He plays with a level of composure and mental toughness which is a hallmark of the great boys in the game.His specialty permits his side to exhibit the amount of flare they possess making them slippery and tough to handle because when they are fouled irrespective of the distance he is ready to punish the opposition side making him a unique figure in the side.Tactically disciplined and scoring crucial goals make him exceptional with regard to his position on the field of play.
    Farhan Shakor Tawfeeq
Farhan Shakor Tawfeeq(FORWARD) : The young forward has netted three crucial goals in the knock out stages of the competition helping to bring his side to this stage.The workaholic forward loves to trap back and initiate attacks and always seem to be at the right place at the right time.His brace against South Korea will be one to be remembered as he cunningly got those goals against the Asian champs.He looks composed on the ball and quite decent with his final touches.Another bright spot in the Iraqi side.

Indeed these Iraqis are a special side with lots of prospects who vow to change the face of the nation's football not only as super powerhouse in their continent but a side worth huge recognition at the world stage.Keep an eye on these boys and see what the future has for them.
                                      |INDEED THIS COULD BE THE TIME FOR IRAQ|