Hello and welcome to our newest series here on AhdaafME. We are looking at all the Middle Easterners plying their trade OUTSIDE of the Middle East. So for example, the transfer Mo’ayyad Khalid (Iraq) to Al-Nahda (Oman) would result in the media calling him a “professional” and #IraqiAbroad. The exact situation occurred when Younis Mahmoud was at Al-Wakrah or Ali Karimi at Al-Ahli, however we will have a new version of this “professional player” series.
Anyone who is currently playing for a club outside of the Middle East – of course because our page looks at football in the region itself – will be involved in our series. So for the first week of our season, let’s crack on to who, where and when these players played.
So without further ado, let us begin with the 1st Edition!
Iraq are renowned to have dual nationality (and Iraqi international) players plying their careers outside their local league, where the same cannot be said about the wealthy Gulf nations in Saudi Arabia, UAE and Qatar. With the commencement of the 2015/16 English Football season, Yaser Kasim started at Swindon Town where they defeated Bradford City 4-1. A devastating loss to Preston North End in the fight for the final play-off spot last season sparked rumours that Kasim would leave, however here we see him starting once again for the The Robins in great form.
Kasim was not the only Iraqi featuring in the opening day for England with lower league goalkeeper Shwan Jalal signing for Macclesfield just a day before his debut against Torquay. An unfortunate 1-0 loss for Shwan Jalal, who is hopefully expecting a Iraq National team call-up. His experience in England is key.
Allan Mohideen and Peiman Eliassi – both eligible for Iraq – of Ljungskile enjoyed a back to back encounter with Sirius Club in the Superettan (Swedish Second Division). A 3-3 draw that saw Mohideen go off at ‘60 for Eliassi (the irony) saw the latter score a late equaliser for Ljungskile to keep them at bay in 8th place after Eliassi himself returned from injury. Ljungskile are now 7 points off the promotion spots yet they are the exact distance away from the relegation spots, mind.
181 fans saw Angelholms win their 3rd in a row against Ustikten BK, where Iraqi duo Zein Al-Abideen Latif and Rebin Assad started for the former in their bid to avoid relegation. Also based in the Superettan, Angelholms are mired in the relegation battle.
IFK Norkopping only finished with 36 points after 30 games last season, narrowly avoiding relegation from the Allsvenskan (Swedish 1st tier). This year saw them wake up and take the league by storm, currently in 2nd place with 38 points after 19 games. Rawiz Lawan (Iraq) featured in the last 12 minutes for them, making that his 14th (13th substitute) appearance of the season. Will he feature if Norkopping qualify for the Europa League?
Moving away from Iraq but still in Sweden, Mohammad Ali Khan of Lebanese descent played the full game for Halmstads – a team fighting to avoid relegation – not unusual as it is his 19th start of the season. The aspiring Lebanese international looks to avoid relegation, thus keeping his team in the top tier of Sweden.
Assyrian striker Andreas Haddad started for Assyriska in a 2-0 loss to Jonkoping, moving them away from the promotion spots of the Swedish First Division.
In his first game for his new team, he came on for 16 minutes to thwart his former team’s (Fredrikstad)’s chances of winning against Kristiansund. Rozhat Sheswari (you guessed it, eligible for Iraq) made his debut against his former club as they were defeated 1-0. What a way for Sheswari to start at his new club! This pushed Fredrikstad further into the danger zone as Kristiansund moved up the table into 7th (Norwegian 2nd tier), a smart transfer move by Sheswari?
Well-known Justin Meram featured in the last quarter of an hour in Columbus Crew’s win over Colorado Rapids, moving 2 points behind NY Red Bulls in the MLS Conference Semi-Final spot (2nd place in the Eastern Conference). This was his 22nd appearance for Crew in 2015.
Steven Beitashour, a veteran in American football at right back played the full 90 for Vancouver Whitecaps. Beitashour, who played for Iran more than 5 times, helped the Whitecaps to a 4-0 win keeping them 2nd in the overall MLS League table.
Mohammad Ghadir at Lokeren, saw 44 valuable minutes as a substitute come by in a 0-0 draw with Kortrijk coming in the 3rd week of the Belgian Pro League. The Palestinian / Isreali player made his debut as a new signing for the Belgian outfit.
An unused sub against Belgian Champions RSC Anderlecht, Hatem Abdulhamid was also a new Palestinian / Israeli signing in the Belgian Pro League for KAA Gent. He previously got to play against Genk, albeit as a late substitute.
Qatari duo Akram Afif and Ahmad Moein were called up to the Qatar Senior national team for the first time, deservedly. Their time at AS Eupen has seen them develop in the Belgian 2nd tier in attacking midfield and central midfield respectively. Fahad Ali Al-Abdulrahman played 86 minutes for Eupen in 1-0 win despite not getting called up to the squad. Moein didn’t feature in the opening week, however Eupen gained 3 points as a result of Akram Afif’s magic:
Lebanon’s representative in Belgium, former Lyon and Koln II striker Philippe Paoli made his full debut in a 3-1 win against KSK Heist for his new club: Lommel United. United, who very nearly made the Belgian Pro League, will definitely look to challenge for promotion once again.
Lebanese International Joan Oumari and second tier side FSV Frankfurt made it through into the next round of the German Cup as they eased past Berlin Dynamo away from home.
“The Asian Gareth Bale” Ali Adnan made his (unofficial) start for Udinese in a 2-0 loss against Granada – in what was dubbed the ‘Pozzo Family Derby’.
A man written into Palestine’s history books – Jaka Ihbeisheh – played for his new club Rudar in an unfortunate 2-2 draw.
Palestinian Anas Sharbini came off the back of a poor game in Croatia for Rijeka, meanwhile Iraqi player Osama Rashid made his league debut for Farense in a 1-0 defeat to Viseu.
Govend Haidar – Iraq – Degerfors
Sherko Kareem – Iraq – Grasshoppers
Rebin Sulaka – Iraq – Syrianska