He was regarded as the best coach in the history of Iraqi soccer. More than that, he is credited with taking Iraqi soccer to the next level, and bringing many cups and titles to the country. He is Ammo Baba (officially Emmanuel Baba Dawud) and with heavy hearts we received the news of his death, at the age of 75, after a long battle with illness.
Ammo Baba, who began his career as a player and later as a coach, is one of the most recognized faces, not only for the Assyrian or Iraqi people, but the entire Arab world. His presence behind the Iraqi team bench was enough to put fear in the hearts of the opponents, which no wonder helped the Iraqi national team win many Arab, Asian and international titles under his coaching. In fact, his name was so big and respected in Iraq, even the notorious Uday, the son of Saddaam Hussien, would listen to him and obey his final instructions regarding team formations and planning. Now that is pretty special for a Christian, let alone an Assyrian Christian!
All of which explains why this is such a big loss for the Assyrian, Iraqi and the footballing world in general. He is, with no dispute, the best Iraqi coach in the 20th century, and his record speaks for itself. As an Assyrian, he has been one of the most popular and recognized personalities in the last 50 years, if not more popular than such recognized names as Mar Dinkha, Evin Agassi, Agha Petros, Younadam Kanna and others. To be put in the same category as these names says a lot about Ammo Baba.
To read more about this legend and his career, visit one of the following websites:
Preparations are already under way by the Iraqi government to stage a big and national funeral for him, at the famous ‘People’s Stadium’ in Baghdad, a place where Ammo Baba coached thousands of games and players, for close to 4 decades.
As Assyrians, and despite this being a sad moment and great loss, we should still use Ammo’s death to remind Iraqis and others in the region about what Assyrians have given to their country of Iraq. And what better example to demonstrate this loyalty than the great legend? He gave Iraq everything he can, and did everything in his power to keep Iraqi soccer on top of the Arab and Asian world. Despite being of a very old generation, his ideas were still quiet applicable to today’s fast-paced and athletic soccer.
It is my hope that Iraqis and the Iraqi government in particular recognizes his Assyrian identity, and on the least, put an Assyrian flag on his coffin, beside an Iraqi flag of course. That wouldn’t be much to ask for. Realizing that the news of his death and coverage of his funeral will be all over the region, putting an Assyrian flag would send a very powerful message. A message of appreciation and recognition.
May your soul rest in peace. With every ball kicked in any Iraqi soccer field, you will be remembered. That is how great your impact has been.
You truly are ‘the father of all coaches’
You have worked hard enough, and now is time to rest in peace.