By: Ashur Sada
She is barely 25 years old, and she can already rest assured that her name will forever be part of a precious short list of Assyrian sports legends. She is Leena Khamis, an Assyrian soccer player who helped Australia reach the quarter finals of the 2011 FIFA Women Football World Cup in Germany.And she didn’t just get there by being included as a name in the Australian team. She actually had a big part in their effort, even scoring a goal against Equatorial Guinea.
About 3 years ago, we had a discussion on Assyrian Voice about Leena Khamis’ rising popularity in Australia and their female league, where she was a leading scorer for her Sydney team. Three years later, we are talking about her as part of an Aussie team that was competing to win a world cup! That is a great progress for Leena Khamis in 3 years and given her relatively young age , she could go for more in the years to come.
As I write this article, Australia has now been elminated from the tournament by Sweden-a powerhouse in female football-nevertheless, the accomplishment is already big enough for the Australian team and Leena.
Some may think that although this is indeed a very good achievment by an Assyrian athelete, the fact remains that it is still not a great one, given that it is a female tournament. I beg to disagree. First of all, despite this being a female tournament, it is still female against female, so the competetion is fair and square. Secondly, this tournament has grown a very high profile worldwide in the last 10 years and is now watched by millions. Sure, it will never achieve same status as the real men’s competetion, but it is still pretty damn good with some great super stars that you will actually enjoy watching.
Leena Khamis is still young enough to be featured in the next world cup in 2015, should she continue to imrpove and get better and better. But even before that, we hope to see her in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London next year.
Like I already mentioned, and although her recent appearance at the World Cup was her biggest accomplishment, it is one of many other ones. She has already represented Australia at the 2004 FIFA World Under 19 Women’s Championship in Thailand. Domestically, she finished the inaugural W-League season as top scorer with 7 goals, helping her win the Golden Boot award With Sydney FC. Here are some of her major accomplishments locally and internationally:
2009 W-League Premiership with Sydney FC
2009 W-League Championship with Sydney FC
2010 AFC Women’s Asian Cup Winners with Australia
2011 FIFA Women World Cup Quarter Final with Australia
Ammoa Baba, Shedrak Yousif, Douglas Aziz, Ayoub Odisho, Basil Georgis…and now you can add Leena Khamis to the list of Assyrian soccer legends whose names will forever be engraved in the book of Assyrian soccer legends.