Yesterday was not a good day for Iraqi football. 2007 champions Iraq were eliminated in the last sixteen of the Asian Cup after losing 3-2 to Jordan. There is a debate about that rate. Aymen Hussain, who scored the team’s second goal of the match, was shown a second yellow card by the referee for ‘excessive celebration’. Iraq, who went 2-1 up with that 76th-minute goal, couldn’t do it again with the ten-man side, conceding two goals in stoppage time.
After that, Iraqi football was tarnished by the actions of journalists at the post-match press conference. Due to the loss in the match, the team’s coach Jesus Casas was questioned by the journalists, and they shouted at Casas. Casas, who at one point served as an assistant to coach Luis Enrique in the Spanish national team, was also drawn to the side.
In a statement later, the Iraqi Football Federation said that this ‘disgusting behavior’ of journalists is condemnable. According to ESPN, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has revoked the ‘accreditation cards’ provided to the journalists for the tournament, while Iraq’s federation has also vowed to take legal action.
Unpleasant questions flowed throughout the press conference. It may not be so critical. But at the same time, many Iraqi journalists are targeting the Spanish coach. Then there was a shameful incident. As Qassas left a press conference after taking charge of Iraq last November, a few journalists turned to him. Security personnel arrived and took Casas away to safety.
‘What happened, it hurt me a lot’ – Casas expressed his feelings like this. And the Football Federation of Iraq wrote in a statement that they are “extremely disappointed” by the journalists. They wrote in a statement about this incident in the press conference room, “That scene is more painful than the undeserved departure of our team.”
The Iraqi Federation condemned the incident, saying, “We strongly condemn the disgusting and disgusting behavior that our coach has been subjected to.” “We do not want to see those media workers who tried to create chaos (in the federation’s activities),” said the statement about the journalists.
Casas was annoyed by the journalists’ questions in the press conference last Sunday, the day before the match. The fact is, during this year’s Asia Cup, Casas gave several interviews to the Spanish media, which Iraqi journalists did not like. They claimed that the interviews with Casas diverted his attention from his main responsibility, namely preparing the national team properly for the Asian Cup. For that reason, the journalists also blamed Casas for such departure of the party.
But Casas dismissed those criticisms, arguing that his side won all the matches in the group stage. In one of the matches, the tournament favorites also beat Japan 2-1.
Asked about his future as Iraq’s coach after the team’s defeat, Kasas said, ‘I am calm about my future. Our goal is to qualify for the 2026 World Cup. Anything can happen, but I am calm.’