x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Iraq Under 17 World Cup diary: Thursday, October 17

Omar Al Raisi is the team liaison officer for Iraq during the Fifa U17 tournament. He will be reporting on their activities and impressions.

Omar Al Raisi is the team liaison officer for Iraq during the Fifa U17 tournament. He will be reporting on their activities and impressions.

Getting to Al Ain was something of a challenge for Team Iraq; a flight from Baghdad to Dubai and a late-night coach ride to Al Ain’s Danat Hotel had the players keen for bed.

They had free time the following afternoon, and the organising committee decided to take the team up to Jebel Hafeet – to get a feel of Al Ain and to unwind. The players and delegates had a great time relaxing at the natural hot springs of Mubazzarah.

“The welcome has been great,” said Ali Essam, vice-captain of the Iraq team. “Al Ain is very green, just like a garden. I really like it here.

“We enjoyed Jebel Hafeet and Mubazzarah; it was beautiful and nice to get to see a bit of Al Ain and do something outside of training.”

Later in the day the team went to the Khalifa International Stadium for the first official training session. That was preceded by the head of delegation giving a passionate speech.

Tackles were flying in, the sessions were fast paced and everyone was kept on their toes. Sherko Kareem and Bashar Bonyan caught the eye with their movement and pace.

The team looks lean and mean, ready for the tournament.

sports@thenational.ae

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