2013-14 Kurdistan football league kicks off
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.