Seven years after he defected Sydney FC midfielder Ali Abbas has been recalled to the Iraq national team.
The news delighted the combative 28-year-old but presented another selection dilemma for Sky Blues coach Graham Arnold.
Sydney will be without the influential Abbas, young gun Bernie Ibini – called up to the Socceroos for the first time – and Austrian international Marc Janko for the start of the 2014/15 A-League campaign.
Abbas last played for his country of birth in the 2007 Asian Cup Final win over Saudi Arabia.
In the same year he, along with two other Iraqi players made headlines worldwide, when they sought asylum in Australia after playing an Olympic qualifier against the Olyroos in Gosford.
“It’s been a long time that I’ve been waiting to play international football for Iraq again,” Abba told Sydneyfc.com
“Now the time has come, I’m proud to representing my country of birth and can’t wait to play in the friendly games against Yemen and Bahrain, although I will be disappointed to miss the start of the A-League season.”
The recall follows last season’s impressive season for Sydney and Tuesday night’s standout performance in the Sky Blues 3-1 victory ove Sydney United in the FFA Cup.
Sydney FC Players' Player and Members' Player of the Year recipient last season, has been named in Iraq’s squad for two friendly games against Yemen and Bahrain next month as the Lions of Mesopotamia prepare for November’s Gulf Cup and January’s 2015 Asian Cup in Australia.
“It would be great to play in Australia for Iraq and great to play in front of the Sydney FC fans in the Asian Cup, if I’m selected,” Abbas said.
“We won it in 2007 and it would be fantastic to win it again.”
Abbas will link up with coach Hakeem Shaker and the rest of his national teammates in Bahrain where the games will be held.comments