The 24 year-old impressed Manchester City enough in a December trial, for the English club to seek to sign the player.

Despite the best efforts of City boss Sven Goran Eriksson, Akram was denied a visa.

Akram has vowed to use the decision as motivation to improve both his career and the fortunes of Iraq.

"It was my big dream to become the first Iraqi player to play in the English Premier League," Akram said.

"I have the ambition to show the skills of Iraqi players in the strongest league in the world. I will prove that Iraqi players deserve to play in any league in the world," he said.