With football still on-hold in most countries, and the existing quarantine measures likely to be extended over the coming few days, we thought it would be a good idea to reminisce over what we miss the most about watching Iraq play. Whilst winning is an incredible feeling, it’s the little things that make being an Iraqi football fan that slight bit more meaningful. Here are the 5 things we miss the most:
1 – The Hype Before A Match
It’s the night before a match and social media is buzzing with news about team selection leakes, debates on who should be starting and how excited the fans are for kickoff. Iraqi fans are so passionate about football, that we’re one of the only countries in the world with countless songs supporting the national team made by famous national artists. Football is much more than just a sport in Iraq – it’s our pride, and the Lions carry that responsibility every time they walk onto that pitch.
2 – Players Taking Selfies & Pictures
Our players understand the responsibilities they carry, and try to connect fans to the national team by positing behind-the-scenes footage of their training and travel arrangements. It’s always exciting to see what the players get up to in the training ground and how they spend their time chilling together during their travels. We especially love watching their Instagram Live chats when they call one-another!
3 – Iraq’s Incredible Home Support
We all know that Iraqi fans are the best football fans in the world – it’s just a well known fact now. Watching our jumhoor singing and supporting the national for the duration of the match, whether we are winning or losing, shows how much we value our players. There’s no feeling quite like seeing a packed Basra stadium singing ‘isa yijjil thani’ after Iraq take a one goal lead.
4 – Goal Celebrations
When it comes to goal celebrations, our players certainly know how to pick them. Whether it’s Younis Mahmoud’s goal celebration vs. Iran in the 2015 Asian Cup, where he mocked the media for claiming he’s too old to play for the national team by pretending to have a walking stick, or Ali Adnan celebrating a goal by giving an army salute to his manager, the players love to express themselves after grabbing a goal for Iraq. Special mentions also go to Amjad Attwan cupping his ears to silent his doubters and Safaa Hadi’s recent gas-mask exploits to support protests in the country.
5 – Being One Step Closer To The 2022 World Cup
There’s still a long journey left in our pursuit of World Cup qualification to 2022 Qatar, but we’re top of our qualifiers group and were hitting form right before the lockdown happened. Whilst it’s unfortunate for us in terms of timing, hopefully Katanec can carry off were we left off with the national team and maintain our winning streak in the remaining three games with Iran, Hong Kong and Cambodia. It’s the first time in a long while where there has been so much positivity surrounding the national team – long may it continue!