Australia’s national football team is set to play its first match ever in the city of Erbil on November 23 in the Under-23 Olympic qualifiers.
Erbil has been given the green light to host international games by the world football federation FIFA. The forthcoming match will be Australia’s first official game in Iraq in recent years.
Iraq has yet to face Australia, Uzbekistan and the UAE in a home and away tournament, the winner of which will qualify for next year’s Olympic Games in London.
To appease any apprehensions the Australian team may have about playing in Iraq, the Iraqi player, Ali Abbas, who now plays for Australia's Newcastle FC told Fox Sport: “Arbil is a nice, safe city - I played there a number of times and I enjoyed it”.