Iraqi Olympic team looks for victory in Australia match

Qatar's Nasser Nabil (right) fights with Iraq's Nabil Sayah for the ball during a friendly soccer match in September. [Fadi al-Assaad / Reuters]

Qatar's Nasser Nabil (right) fights with Iraq's Nabil Sayah for the ball during a friendly soccer match in September. [Fadi al-Assaad / Reuters]

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The Iraqi Olympic football team is proceeding with preparations for its next match in the Asian qualifiers for the 2012 London Olympics.

Iraq will play Australia on Sunday (October 23rd) in Qatar.

Olympic team coach Radhi Shenaishil said the players' task will be difficult in the match against Australia.

"Nonetheless, we have done all that we can to fix mistakes made in the past, and we hope to make the Iraqi people happy by achieving a good result," he said.

According to Shenaishil, the Olympic team made mistakes in their match against Uzbekistan in September when Iraq lost 2-0.

"It is true that the loss in the first match was tough and heavy, but that is not the end of it," he said. "Rather, there is still a chance to achieve our goal. The Olympic team is required to make up for this loss in the next match to return to compete for a place in the 2012 London Olympics qualifiers."

Shenaishil confirmed that the coaching staff would work on fixing mistakes.

"We have great hopes in the team players who shoulder the greater part of the responsibility," he said. "Winning in this awaited match will get us back in the right direction."

Administrative manager Jabbar Hashem said the outcome of the match is important for Iraq's overall standing in the Olympic qualifiers.

"Any setback in our match against the Australian team will increase our difficulties in the Olympic qualifiers. Therefore, we hope that our players will do their best and dedicate themselves for the service of Iraqi football," he said.

"The next stage needs great and decisive work in order to remain in the competition in the group that drew us against Uzbekistan, the United Arab Emirates and Australia."

Olympic team player Ahmed Ibrahim said the players realize the importance of the next match and are determined to make up for the loss in the first round.

"We realize the importance of this match and know quite well that our rivals have high skills and capabilities," Ibrahim said. "However, our Iraqi Olympic team has the ambition to win to keep our hopes in qualifying alive."

Amjad Kalaf, another player, said the team would win the match against Australia.

"We know that the fans are asking us to win, and that they are waiting for us," he said. "We will be up to expectations."

The Iraqi Olympic football team reached the third round of the 2012 London Olympics Asian qualifiers after winning 2-0 against Iran in the second round of qualifiers. At that time, the Olympic team was supervised by coach Nadhum Shakir, who was removed from the team. He was replaced by Radhi Shenaishil, who won the premier league title with al-Zawra last season.

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  • READER COMMENTS

    الكعبي

    2012-5-1

    This is old news; we want current news about the national team and the London Olympics.

  • Eno

    2011-12-10

    I as far as I am concerned, the performance is not reassuring. It is rather very poor. The play making is a mere series of ball kicks which lack concentration. I did not see any tactical exchanges or planned plays. In fact, I saw nothing but some disoriented passes, which were easily intercepted by the opponents. Suffice it to say that it has been defeated in the first match against Uzbekistan. This team has shown great performances in our difficult group, which also included Australia. We hope that our team will put on a better performance so that they will meet the expectations of the Iraqis and represent Iraqi soccer well. In fact, the Iraqi Olympic Team has always performed wonderfully in matches. Unfortunately, I feel disappointed when I see the forward players, especially the striker who proved that he does not know how to kick the ball or direct it towards the goal in the few opportunities he had. He does not know even how to control the ball while he ranks first in the chart of National League strikers. Still worse, the midfielders were very confused and the defenders were easy to breach. Therefore, something must be done. The list of players should be reconsidered. The same thing applies to Radhi Shnishel, who is not responsible enough. In fact, the officials should appoint someone who is experienced in the field of soccer, in order to improve the performance of the Olympic Team. In the second match against Australia, the performance was as poor as the first one, though the opponents were not showing their best. In fact, this is why we managed to avoid defeat. As for the win against the United Arab Emirates, the victory did not have a great aura, because the opponent’s performance was very poor and their chances of catching up were insignificant. Anyway, I hope that this victory over the host team, UAE, will boost the players and motivate them once again. Meanwhile, I still insist that I have not seen any kind of parades, tactics or individual talents. This means that the Iraqi team is unlikely to rank first in the group, the only position that qualifies for the London Olympiad.

  • فاضل عثمان

    2011-11-26

    The Iraqi Olympic soccer team gave its best performance, and it will continue to be the best. I believe that what the national team did was a great honor to Iraq, as they presented their best effort. I am one of the biggest fans of soccer, and the Olympic National Team gave the best of their performances. I call upon them to provide their very best, and to stay unique forever, and to make this sport the best. God willing, the next sessions will be the best. I call upon the trainers to train them and ask that they maintain their skills and power, and that they provide spring training camps, which will make them the best. I praise the Iraqi National Olympic Team because of what they did with their strong performance, and I hope they will protect their power and leading status, and that the coming days will prove the best, God willing.

  • قيس صالح

    2011-11-26

    Iraq currently has an Olympic Team, which I think is one of the best Olympic soccer teams at the Arab and Asian level. In fact, the Iraqi Olympic Team has got a lot of the junior players that are endowed with much talent, as well as technical and physical potentials. Therefore, Iraq and Iraqis count a lot on this junior team, which will represent Iraq in the coming years, to become the first team and pursue the bright sport process that has been started by the Iraqi star players. In fact, through our follow up of the matches of our Olympic Team in the last qualifiers of the Olympics in London, we have noticed that it is one of the best teams, and it is able to compete with the developed teams, especially since it is currently playing the third round of the playoffs. Indeed, it has managed to defeat a lot of strong teams which have been nominated to qualify for the World Cup.

  • صباح عادل

    2011-11-26

    Despite the defeat of the Iraqi Olympic Club in their last match against Uzbekistan, the team will remain hopeful, because the process is still long, and there is a reasonable possibility that the soccer team will qualify. In this game, there is always the possibility of winning. Nevertheless, you are likely to be defeated as well. However, we are very optimistic about the results of our Olympic Team’s future. Indeed, we support this team, because it is worthy of all kinds of praise and appreciation. We are zealous fans of the players of our Olympic Team. Meanwhile we call on them to produce more achievements. We, the soccer lovers and the Iraqi people as a whole, are fond of this game. We would like to see our team achieve sporting achievements which will cause all Iraqis to rejoice. God willing, the Iraqi Olympic Team is able to spread joy and happiness among us. In fact, Iraq is one of the best teams, because it includes many talented players, especially since the training cadre is led by Captain Radi Shnichl. Moreover, the Olympic team shows great performance and solidarity. They are progressively making collective efforts. Thus, the Team has impressed whoever attends their wonderful performances. We call on everyone to support the Iraqi Olympic Football Team. Indeed, the concerned authorities should show more interest in this respect. The latter are supposed to offer all kinds of support, so as to enable the team to achieve the kind of successful and sustainable results we want. We hope that this team will manage to make high performances and achieve positive results in international competitions, wherever they participate. Indeed, we wish this team success and good luck, God willing.

  • قاصد سليم

    2011-11-7

    The entire sports sector in Iraq is in a bad situation, especially soccer, because of the conflicts between officials in the Iraqi Federation of Football over positions. As a result, the only loser is the sports sector in Iraq. The Olympic team is not at the level of our aspirations, and the questions that one would ask are: is the Iraqi National team capable of making achievements? Is it receiving enough support, and are there young players with new spirits in it? The answer will certainly be “No.” It is obvious that the Olympic team is not good, because of the neglect and lack of sense of responsibility by sports officials that made the Iraqi National teams participate in competitions and tournaments just for the sake of participating, and nothing more. In the past, however, when we used to participate in any tournament, we would be feared and respected, because there had been honest people doing their best for the sake of achieving good results that satisfied the Iraqi public and improved the game; and that is exactly what is missing nowadays.

  • شامل موسى

    2011-11-5

    I think that the Iraqi Olympic team has many players who have the best skills and technical capabilities that will enable them to represent Iraq in many international soccer events. Therefore, I think that the Iraqi Olympic team is a good team that has achieved a great deal, although it lost in the last match against the Uzbekistan Olympic team in the playoffs of the London qualifiers in 2012, by two goals to nothing. In soccer, there is always a loser and a winner, so the fact that our team lost doesn’t mean that it is not a good team. Our team has many promising players who can achieve a lot on the international level. We all support them, especially after they moved to the third round of the London playoffs, and we have all seen their fantastic performance and how much they understand each other on the field. We wish them the best of luck and all the success, so as to bring us joy. Our Olympic team is a good team and its performance was acceptable. Therefore, the authorities, especially those responsible for the sports sector in Iraq, should provide all kinds of support and care for this team. Despite our satisfaction with its performance, we are looking forward to its developing more fully. They need support to be able to go on in their career successfully.

  • فلاح حمدي

    2011-11-1

    What we wish for the Olympic Iraqi team is all the good and for it to perform the best, so as to be one of the significant teams which top the victory and success list. Therefore, the performance of the Olympic team must be extremely wonderful, diligent, excellent, splendid and creative, and it is very important to exert efforts in a bigger and better way, so as to satisfy the Iraqi people through presenting all the distinguished and wonderful things, so that the Iraqis will attain victory, as they have the right more than others to reach the finals. Iraq should be the best Olympic team in soccer, and the Iraqis love this game very much. Therefore, the team should not disappoint the hopes of the great spectators who love the sport of soccer; it should give them hope and put a smile upon the lips of the Iraqi people by presenting everything beautiful and wonderful. The performance of the Olympic team was highly professional and accurate; they have presented the best of what they have, and they certainly deserve to win and not to be disappointed anyway, as they represent Iraq and they raise the name and the flag of Iraq. Therefore, the lions of Mesopotamia should present all the success, brilliance and excellence that they have gotten us used to, among the rest of the other teams. The performance of the Iraqi Olympic soccer teams is beautiful, and we hope that they can present better and more giving, activity, vitality and winning, so as to be a reason behind the happiness of many of the Iraqi people.

  • حسين ماجد

    2011-10-27

    Today, Iraq did not play. Why did that happen?