Iraq men's national soccer team in Doha

Casas and Bayesh address media ahead of Asian Cup match with Japan

ERBIL, January 18 — In a press conference at the Mishref Media Center in Doha, the Iraqi men’s national soccer team coach, Jesus Casas, alongside player Ibrahim Bayesh, discussed preparations for the upcoming match against Japan.

The match, part of the second round of the AFC Asian Cup 2023, is scheduled for January 19 at 2:30 p.m. local time (GMT +3) at Education City Stadium in Doha.

Casas opened the conference by clarifying details about an incident regarding national team player Danilo Al-Saeed’s request to leave the team after a match against Indonesia. Casas said he understood Al-Saeed’s request, which he attributed to a lack of mental clarity since the Abu Dhabi camp. Casas also highlighted his attempts to persuade Al-Saeed to stay.

Furthermore, Casas emphasized the team’s complete readiness for the match against Japan, which he called a strong competitor and the most decorated team in the Asian Cup’s history. He was confident all his players could challenge the top teams, including Japan.

Regarding the potential inclusion of players Osama Rashid and Saad Natiq in the upcoming match, Casas noted that Rashid was away for the birth of a new child and would return in good condition. Natiq, he also noted, was recovering from a hand injury and had resumed training, with a final decision on his participation pending.

Bayesh expressed optimism for the Japan match. He emphasized the team’s readiness and eagerness to implement the technical staff’s instructions to represent the Lions of Mesopotamia effectively.