The summer of 2015 looks to be a cross-roads in the football careers of Iraq’s top young talents, Ali Adnan is looking forward to his new adventure in Italy’s Serie A in Udine, Osama Rashid will be getting out his Portuguese phrasebook as he attempts to tackle a new language and a league with Segunda Liga side Sporting Clube Farense, English-based Yaser Kasim has made it clear that he’s looking for new pastures away from the City Ground, and then there is Ahmed Yasin in the Swedish Allsvenskan, who agreed on a move to the Danish Superliga with newly promoted AGF Aarhus.
At 24, this opportunity has come at the perfect moment for the Iraqi winger. Tight-lipped on his next move for the past few weeks while holidaying in London, with six months running on his contract and linked to a host of clubs in Sweden, Holland and the Middle East. His new home AGF Aarhus and Ceres Park could be the right setting for the exciting footballer to launch him to another level.
However while his footballing brothers have experienced playing football in leagues all over the world, from Greece, Iceland, Syria to the Iraqi league, this will be the player’s first venture abroad.
The Örebro SK Talent
The Iraqi international has always shown the natural ability from an early age. He made his debut for Iraq in 2011 but I had known of him long before then. I first heard of the name Ahmed Yasin eleven years ago when his brother asked me to contact former Iraq international defender Sharar Haidar when he was living in London to try and find his 13-year-old brother Ahmed a club in England, believing that it would benefit him in his career. It was during Iraq’s tour of England and at the time an article circulating in the Iraqi sports press revealed that Sharar was a coach at Fulham FC. However after a brief conversation outside The Hawthorns, I came to discover that he was actually just a community coach, but I insisted he take the phone number to contact the player’s family and see if he can get him a trial. History tells you that nothing came of it.
But the player nicknamed ÖSK-talang or ‘the Örebro SK Talent’ found his own way to play at the top level, grafting it at BK Forward before he returning to his true home at the Eyravallen, where he was a youth player and where his three elder brothers had begun their careers.
Ahmed Yasin Ghani Mousa is the youngest of four footballing brothers. He had been playing football from the age of five looking up to his brothers, Salar, Araz and Zeid who, like their younger sibling, had all played for Örebro SK, where Ahmed started playing his youth football.
His family had lived on the famous Palestine Street in the Iraqi capital, but had first left Baghdad for Sweden in 1987 at the near end of the Iraq-Iran War. A year after the war ended, the Yasin family returned to their home on Palestine Street believing that their future lay in Iraq but less than 18 months later Iraq was dragged into another war with the US and its allies after Saddam ordered the invasion of Kuwait and the following year, the Yasin family left Iraq for the final time.
Ahmed Yasin was born in Baghdad on April 22, 1991 and was only one, when he and his family moved to Sweden. He joined BK Forward in 2007 at the age of sixteen, where his eldest brother Salar was a coach for one of their youth teams. He broke into the first team in 2009 and made a total of 42 appearances scoring seven goals for the club and even captained the club’s futsal team to the 2010 Mariedal Cup, where he netted two goals in the final.
Soon he returned to hometown club Örebro SK in 2010 and his career has gone from strength to strength, setting a target each year and reaching it by the end of the season. When he first joined Örebro SK , it took the talented winger a while to settle in the first team and in his first season he made only four brief substitute appearances, a total of 54 minutes of football! He broke into the first team half-way through the 2011-12 season in the Allsvenskan starting eleven matches. However the club were relegated into the second tier of Swedish football, Superettan but rather than obstructing his career, the stint in the second division was the making of the player. Ahmed was a key factor in the team’s promotion back to the top flight, appearing 29 times, scoring 6 goals and assisting for seven goals as he became a regular on the right wing under the now departed Per-Ola Ljung, the man who gave him his start at the club.
Since then Ahmed Yasin has become one of the Swedish club’s best players. Last season he played 29 games out of 30 in the Allsvenskan, scoring 2 goals and assisting for 5 goals, and so far this season he has started each of Örebro’s 13 league games, a major reason why the Swedish club were keen to keep hold of him for next season.
Move to Denmark
But with only six months left on his contract, the ambitious player and his agent think it’s time to move on, Ahmed and Örebro SK have taken each other as far as they can. The Swedish club, who finished sixth last season, are not considered one of Sweden’s top sides, a selling club who lost a host of their best players to bigger clubs in Sweden and Europe prior to their last relegation to the Superettan and if Ahmed wants to become a better footballer and play at a top level, the attacking winger has to be challenging himself at a better standard of football than what ÖSK are currently offering. It’s become too easy for him at Örebro SK where he’s one of the first names on the team sheet, his career could stagnate, if it hasn’t already, if he stays, with ÖSK, a club teetering on the brink of either playing in the second tier next season or facing any season struggling in the Allsvenskan. As I see it, signing another contract with Örebro SK wouldn’t have benefited the player in the slightest, he’s reached the end of his development with the club and if he wants to improve his overall game, this is the right time to make that move.
The player’s agent Patrick Mörk described the Danish Superliga as “the strongest league in Scandinavia” and the offer as the most interesting for his client. AGF Aarhus and the Danish league is a new challenge, a higher level of football, and it brings a whole range of possibilities, and perhaps see Ahmed move to one of Europe’s major leagues in the next few years, which is the player’s ultimate goal.
How time has changed from that sunny day in West Bromwich in 2004, today Sharar Haidar is vice president of the Iraq Football Association while Ahmed Yasin is a regular in the Iraqi national team, participated at the Gulf Cup and the Asian Cup and set to play in the Danish Superliga. Expect to hear more from the ÖSK Talent in the future, with AGF and the Iraqi Lions.