West Asia

Iraq legend Younis Mahmoud an inspiration for young Mohammed Dawood

Young midfielder Mohammed Dawood has revealed how Iraq legend Younis Mahmoud inspired him to grow up as a footballer.

The 16-year-old sensationally helped Iraq won the 2016 AFC U-16 Championship for the first time which also saw his team to secure a FIFA U-17 World Cup’s ticket in India next October.

Dawood’s achievement was in similar fashion that veteran Mahmoud made as he starred when Iraq secured a stunning AFC Asian Cup title in 2007.

“Mahmoud is my idol,” the Al Naft wonderkid told FIFA. “For me, he is a legend who has provided me with consistent inspiration as he has done for many other Iraqi youngsters.

“I was so happy that my team won the Asian title. And I was glad that I earned the best player and top-scorer awards.

“Thank God for our achievements. I am also aware that I owe thanks to our coaching staff as well as my family for their strong support,” he continued.

“Being frank, I didn’t expect so much heading into the tournament. It was my first international competitive competition and I was awkward. I was concerned because I wanted so much to live up to expectations.

“But our coaches encouraged me throughout and gave me confidence. My team-mates were also a big help and we played well as a unit.”

Dawood finished as the tournament’s top scorer with an unrivalled six goals, two more than Takefusa Kubo of Japan.