A social media sensation

Robot makes its debut in match between Zakho and Al-Zawra teams

ZAKHO — A robot made its debut in Iraq’s football league on Sunday, carrying the ball onto the field at the start of a match between Zakho and Al-Zawra. The unique introduction quickly became a social media sensation, capturing the attention of fans and sports enthusiasts.

Developed in China but programmed by a local student, Nashwan Salah, the robot represents a first for Iraqi football. Salah, a student at the private Zakho Institute, told 964media, “We operate the robot remotely and have programmed it ourselves. We have plans to further develop it with artificial intelligence, allowing it to function autonomously and potentially be used in other activities.”

The robot was first showcased on Feb. 27 at the institute’s second annual technology festival, which featured 42 student projects and innovations in software and hardware.

While the robot stole the spotlight pre-game, the match itself ended in a 1-0 victory for Zakho. Brazilian forward Frank Cedric found the net in the 41st minute, securing three crucial points for the home team.

Despite changes made by both coaches in the second half to alter the momentum, the score remained unchanged, securing Zakho’s third-place position in the Iraqi Stars League with 28 points.

“Winning against Zawra was not easy,” said Zakho coach Talal Al-Balooshi to 964media. “We are grateful for this significant victory and look forward to continuing our success.”

Qatar's Talal Al-Balooshi slated to coach FC Zakho

Qatar's Talal Al-Balooshi slated to coach FC Zakho