U-17 WC: Iraq team arrives in Kolkata

A 21-member Iraq national team coached by Qahtan Jathir and six support staff checked in here in the wee hours on Monday for the upcoming FIFA U-17 World Cup commencing October 6.

All eyes will be on 16-year-old Mohammed Dawood who led Iraq to the 2016 AFC U-16 Championship, held in Goa.   -  K. Murali Kumar

 

A 21-member Iraq national team coached by Qahtan Jathir and six support staff checked in here in the wee hours on Monday for the upcoming FIFA U-17 World Cup commencing October 6.

They landed at 2.15am by a Qatar Airways flight before being escorted to the team hotel by a tight security cover, a local team official said.

Making a comeback after its only appearance in UAE-2013, the Asian champion will face Mexico in its group F World Cup opener at Saltlake Stadium on October 8.

It will be a test of character for the war-ravaged country, which is placed in a group of death featuring heavyweights Mexico, Chile and England.

It would hope to better its last place finish in 2013 when it lost all three of its matches, against Sweden, Mexico and Nigeria, the teams that eventually claimed first, second and third place in the tournament.

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Iraq emerged victorious from the 2016 AFC U-16 Championship, defeating Iran in the final to become Asian champion for the first time and qualify for the tournament under the guidance of coach Qahtan.

All eyes will be on 16-year-old Mohammed Dawood who led the turnaround for its historic feat in 2016 after it had failed to find the net in the first two matches.

He made a welcome breakthrough against Oman in Iraq’s final group-stage match, and then struck a brace against Uzbekistan in the quarterfinal and a hat-trick versus Japan in the last four to emerge top goalscorer and player of the tournament in the 2016 AFC U-16 Championship.

Iraq squad:

Goalkeepers: Ali Ibadi (Air Force Athletic Club), Mustafa Zuhair (Naft Al—Wasat SC), Abdulazeez Ammar (Al Shorta SC).

Defenders: Ali Raad, Muntadher Abdulsada (Al Hidood); Abdulabbas Ayad, Ammar Mohammed (Al Talaba SC); Maytham Jabbar (Al Shola), Muntadher Mohammed (Al Kahraba), Mohammed Al—Baqer (Al Sina’a FC).

Midfielders: Habeeb Mohammed, Saif Khalid, Mohammed Ridha (Al Talaba SC); Abbas Ali (Al Hussein SC), Bassam Shakir (Al Karkh SC), Mohammed Ali (Al Nagda), Moamel Karim (Al Shorta SC), Ahmed Sartip (Gas Al Shemal).

Forwards: Mohammed Dawood (Al Naft SC), Ali Kareem (Baghdad FC), Alaa Adnaan (Al Nagda).

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