Captain Younes Mahmoud and Nashart Akram receive Most Valuable Player awards; Noor Sabri named best goalkeeper
LG underlines commitment to sports initiatives in the Arab world
The LG Football Awards 2008 recognised the achievements of the people responsible for the Iraqi team's success, including Captain Younes Mahmoud, player Nashart Akram, goalkeeper Noor Sabri, coach Raheem Hameed, President of the Iraqi Football Association Hussain Said, and Najih Al-Hmoud, Vice President of the Iraqi Football Association. The ceremony was attended by the Iraqi national team, along with members of the Iraqi Football Association, and senior LG officials.
The event was also a perfect opportunity for LG and football fanatics in the region to underline their support to the team, which begins its campaign for the 2010 World Cup qualifying rounds on February 6th. The team will take on China in the opening round.
The spectacular Iraqi performance has been chronicled as one of the most enduring international sports successes. Playing in a bombed out stadium against the backdrop of militant insurgency and death threats, the players showed that they were determined to take their nation to the top of the football map.
In July last year, the underdogs scripted one of football's spectacular fairytale victories by outplaying the three-time champions Saudi Arabia 1-0 in their Asian Cup encounter in Jakarta and creating a rare moment of celebration in their war-torn homeland. The winning goal came from captain Younes Mahmoud, who led by example right from the beginning of the tournament.
"The Iraqi team has done the Arab world proud through their spectacular Asian Cup win last year and other regional championships," said Mr. K. W. Kim, CEO, LG Electronics-Middle East and Africa Regional Company. "I am sure most fans in the Middle East and Africa have been following their fortunes very carefully and I am sure they have become role models for many. Tonight is, therefore, the perfect opportunity for LG to show our appreciation to them for all the tremendous hard work they've put in."
During the glittering awards ceremony, Mahmoud and Nashart Akram were honoured as the LG Most Valuable Players, Raheem Hameed was named best coach, while goalkeeper Noor Sabri took the award for his brilliant performance throughout the year. In the Asian Cup semi-final against the much fancied South Korea, Sabri made a crucial save to guide his team to a 4-3 victory in penalties.
In April 2004, LG signed a two-year contract to sponsor the Iraqi football team as part of its commitment to play a more active role in the country's community development. Soon after, the team reached the semi-finals of the Athens Olympics in 2004. In May 2006, LG renewed its contract with the team for another two years. This was followed by the team's spectacular performance in the Asian Cup held in Doha, Qatar, where they emerged as the runners-up.
Thanking the region's football fans, Mahmoud said: "I am overwhelmed that our delight over the Asian Cup victory was shared not only by the Iraqi people but also each and everyone in the Arab world, even by people who don't follow the game. It is heartening to find that our victory has attracted solidarity from all quarters in the world. I would like to thank LG for having believed in us."
LG Iraqi Football Awards 2008
Most Valuable Player-Younes Mahmoud and Nashart Akram