Kolkata: The name Dawood is quite familiar amongst the Indians. Iraq U’17 team is also banking on another Dawood to come good in the FIFA U’17 World Cup in India. 16 year old Mohammed Dawood has already made a name for himself with his football skills. The striker was the top goal-scorer and player of the tournament in Asian Championship held in Goa last years. He scored six goals in the tournament, including a hat-trick against Japan in the semi-finals. The Iraqi striker will be leading the charge for the national team once again.
The soft spoken striker is a huge fan of Bollywood movies and Shah Rukh Khan. The last SRK starrer he watched was Raees.
“The last movie I watched was Shah Rukh Khan’s Raees. I am a huge fan of him (Shah Rukh) and Amitabh Bachchan. I also like Salman Khan and Aishwarya Rai,” said Dawood to the scribes at the sidelines of the training ground in the Sports Authority of India.
On being asked where they watch Bollywood movies, Dawood said, “We have a channel that translates Indian (Bollywood) movies.”
The Iraqi team will feel at home here in India, having played the Asian Championship in Goa last year. According to Dawood, “We played in the tournament in Goa last year and so we will have a better idea about the conditions here. We played here last year and maybe we can adapt quickly to the conditions here.”
On being asked what his feelings are on representing his country in the FIFA U’17 World Cup, Dawood said, “It is an honour for me to represent my country for the first time in the U’17 World Cup. I will try and give my best for my country against the top teams.”
The Iraqi footballer feels football has played a huge role in getting his countrymen united.
“Despite the political conditions in Iraq, football still remains a popular sport in our country. Football has unified the Iraqi people and we want to bring smiles to our fans. The state of our country is a lot better now and the international ban on our country will soon be lifted and hope everything will be fine,” said Dawood.
A fan of Younis Mahmoud, who helped Iraq win the 2007 Asian Cup beating Saudi Arabia 1-0 in the final, Dawood said he is an inspiration and the team would give their all to make the country proud.
“Younis Mahmoud is a big inspiration. We will do our best in this competition and make our people happy,” says Dawood
Iraq’s only previous appearance in a U-17 World Cup wasn’t particularly memorable and saw them finish bottom of their group in 2013, but they have come a long way since then. The Asian team will hope to open their campaign against Mexico with a win on October 8 at the Salt Lake Stadium.