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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 17 January 2019

Al Nasr sign Iraq striker Mohannad Abdulraheem to replace Wanderley as Asian player

Al Nasr have signed Iraq international Mohannad Abdulraheem to replace Wanderley, the Dubai club’s suspended Brazilian striker.
Mohannad Abdulraheem, centre, scored all four goals in Iraq's 4-0 2018 World Cup qualifying win against Thailand. Stringer / AFP
Mohannad Abdulraheem, centre, scored all four goals in Iraq's 4-0 2018 World Cup qualifying win against Thailand. Stringer / AFP

Al Nasr have signed Iraq international Mohannad Abdulraheem to replace Wanderley, the Dubai club’s suspended Brazilian striker who joined them as an Asian player on what is claimed to be a falsified Indonesian passport.

Wanderley, 27, was banned from playing in Asia for 60 days on September 2 by the Asian Football Confederation, the continent’s governing body, pending an investigation based on a statement by Indonesian state authorities that the passport held by the forward was a forged or falsified document.

Crossing over from Sharjah during the summer, Wanderley made an immediate impact for Nasr. He scored twice in their 3-0 win over Qatari side El Jaish in the first leg of their Asian Champions League quarter-final on August 24.

However, Nasr were forced to forfeit that game and were beaten 1-0 in the return leg last month as they bowed out of the continental championship 4-0 on aggregate.

Abdulraheem no doubt alerted Nasr to his goalscoring exploits when he grabbed all four goals in Iraq’s 4-0 thrashing of Thailand in their recent 2018 World Cup qualifierat the PAS Stadium in Tehran last week.

“Mohannad will be our Asian player in place of Wanderley. We will call a press conference to introduce him and answer all questions,” a club official said when contacted by The National yesterday.

“Wanderley will be signed as a Brazilian player in the January transfer window after the pending case is completed.”

Abdulraheem will join Nasr’s foreign trio of Jires Kembo Ekoko (DR Congo), Jonathan Pitroipa (Burkina Faso) and Abdelaziz Barrada (Morocco).

He is expected to make his debut for his new team in the Arabian Gulf Cup when Nasr play Al Ain on home turf at the Al Maktoum stadium on Sunday. Abdulraheem, 23, began his youth career at his native Al Karkh FC in 2006 and graduated to the first team in 2009.

Three years later, he moved to Duhok where he spent two seasons from 2012 to 2014 before a season with JS Kabylie in Algeria. He returned to Iraq to join Al Zawra’a in 2015.

Abdulraheem made his international debut in 2012 and has 11 goals in 28 international appearances.

In 2012 he won the Asian Young Footballer of the Year award and was also named the Most Valuable Player in the AFC U19 Championship.

apassela@thenational.ae

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Updated: October 18, 2016 04:00 AM

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