Newcastle Jets’ Abbas overjoyed at Iraqi call-up

Newcastle Jets winger Ali Abbas admitted he was overjoyed when he heard the news that the Iraqi national team wanted him back.

Newcastle Jets winger Ali Abbas admitted he was overjoyed when he heard the news that the Iraqi national team wanted him back.

The 24-year old last played for his nation three years ago before he sought political asylum in Australia so he was very overwhelmed when he received a phone call saying they wanted him back.

“When Branko [Culina] rang me to tell me, I couldn't believe it,'' he told the SMH. ''I thought he was joking. This is a big surprise. I am so happy. I have spoken to my mother back in Iraq; my brothers, my friends, they are all so happy. It is hard for me to express my feelings in English, but this is a big, big moment for me. I am feeling really good right now.''

Back in 2007, Abbas, along with two teammates, snuck out of a hotel in Gosford while on tour with the Iraq U23 national team so he was surprised to get the call-up but admitted he took measures to give himself a chance.

“I never gave up hope of getting back into the national team,'' Abbas added. ''I always thought I would have a chance, but I know if I had not gone back to Baghdad, this would not have happened. I cleared everything up, and that is why the door stayed open.”

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