2013-14 Kur­dis­tan foot­ball league kicks off

The Kurdish Globe - - NEWS -

Last year>s cham­pion suf­fer a shock­ing 1-0 de­feat to Hawler Pesh­marga in the first game of the sea­son

The 2013-2014 foot­ball sea­son kicked off on Oc­to­ber 3 with the par­tic­i­pa­tion of 14 clubs from the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion, in­clud­ing Er­bil, Duhok, Suleimaniya and Kirkuk. The Kur­dis­tan Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion (KFA) said games will be played on Thurs­days and Fri­days.

Un­like the Iraqi pre­mier league, teams in the Kur­dis­tan league are not drawn into groups. Each one of the 14 clubs will play ev­ery other team over 13 matches. The par­tic­i­pat­ing teams are Er­bil, Suli Pesh­marga, Alla, Zakho, Sher­wana, Hallo, Nawroz, Hawler Pesh­marga, Ararat, Kirkuk, Suleimaniya, Zer­a­vani, Duhok and Han­dren.

The league opened with a match be­tween last year>s cham­pion, Zer­a­vani, and Hawler Pesh­marga. Un­ex­pect­edly, Zer­a­vani were on poor form, while Hawler Pesh­marga played a fan­tas­tic match, es­pe­cially in the first half. Hal­gurd Khalid scored the first goal for Pesh­marga in the 10th minute. Af­ter the goal, Pesh­marga strik­ers made it into the Zer­a­vani penalty box sev­eral times but failed to score more goals. Many easy scor­ing chances were missed due to mak­ing rush in the at­tacks.

Aim­ing to change the re­sult, Zer­a­vani started the sec­ond half with sev­eral quick at­tacks and put a lot of pres­sure on the ri­val’s de­fen­sive line.

But Hawler Pesh­marga stayed firm and the de­fend­ers were suc­cess­ful in de­fus­ing Han­dren>s at­tacks. The match ended 1-0: last year’s cham­pi­ons had lost their first match of the new sea­son.

The re­sults of the other matches were: Er­bil vs. Ararat, 0-1; Suleimaniya Pesh­marga vs. Suleimaniya FC, 1-1; Zakho vs. Newroz, 1-1; Kirkuk vs. Alla, 5-0; Sher­wana vs. Han­dren, 2-1; and Hallo vs. Duhok, 2-1.

Al­though the matches of the Kur­dis­tan Foot­ball League were for­merly well-at­tended, the num­ber of foot­ball fans and spec­ta­tors at do­mes­tic league games has fallen sharply over the last decade, leav­ing some sta­di­ums vir­tu­ally empty even for cru­cial matches.

The poor con­di­tion of the seats, the de­pen­dence on Arab foot­ballers, and the de­cline of the qual­ity of foot­ball on dis­play in the leagues are some of the fac­tors that may be keep­ing fans away from the grounds.

The spec­ta­tors would like to be con­sulted on how to im­prove the state of Kur­dish foot­ball. They think that if the coaches mir­ror the tech­niques used in the Euro­pean league, the matches will be a lot bet­ter and the fans will re­turn to the sta­di­ums.

Hallo and Duhok play­ers shake hands be­fore play­ing theri match at the Kur­dis­tan foot­ball league.

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