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Assyrian Sports Hall of Fame


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Started Shining on the National level in 1951 with the Iraqi School Soccer Varsity.

He then developed and sharpened his skills alongside great players such as Ammo Samson, Youra Eshaya, Awia Shawel, and Hermiz Gabriel when he joined the Assyrian Soccer Club in Habbanniah, Iraq. In 1954 he joined the Iraqi Air Force soccer team for which he played until 1964.

Ammo Baba, exploded into the Arab football scene at the tender age of 17 in a schoolboys football tournament in Cairo for the Iraqi schoolboys against the home nation Egypt in the early 1950s.

He is still revered by generations who never saw him play, was an instinctive out and out goal scorer, known for his bicycle kicks, heading ability, defense splitting pace and the power of his shooting. He had an opportunist's eye for goal but also displayed magnificent technique and virtuoso skill of a great centre forward=z?U#???0D
Moved to Employee Football Club in 1951 replacing legendary striker Aram Karam, where he played with the likes of Captain Hermiz Gabriel, Ammo Samson and Youra. In 1954 he signed for Baghdad based club Al Qowa Al Jawea where he was a huge success, scoring bundles of goals, season after season. The prolific marksman was once the captain of a short-lived Arab national team during the mid Fifties, in a Nasser-inspired experiment in Arab unity which failed due to the fact that, which Ammo Baba puts it 'no one wanted to play against us'. After brilliant scoring exploits for both Iraq and Al-Qowa Al-Jawea, he was spotted by English 2nd Division side Notts County and was offered a contract to play for them, but when the call from Meadow Lane came, he could not leave the country, due to a sudden coup led by the Iraqi General Abdul-Karim Qasim on July 14, 1958.

His playing career came to a premature end at the peak of his game due to a serious injury in 1965. In a career in which he scored around 850 goals, Ammo Baba is still seen as one of the Assyrian worlds most talented strikers.

He moved into management after his retirement and took over the helm at Public Transport Club in 1966. He became the Iraqi Military team manager in 1971, winning the World Military Cup twice and later became Iraqi national manager in 1979 helping the national team to qualify for 3 Olympics Games (Moscow '80, Los Angeles '84 and Seoul '88), winning the Gulf State Championship twice, Asian Games Finals victory over Kuwait in 82 and helping Iraq to qualify for their first World Cup appearance in Mexico '86. Ammo Baba is recognized as one of the most successful Iraqi Assyrian Footballers and managers of all time.

He was recently named as the SPORT MAN OF THE CENTURY in IRAQ.

He scored approximately 850 goals in his playing career which included 85 international games.

Ammo Baba with the Iraqi Military Team of 1965.

With The Iraqi Youth Team that won
the Asian Youth Championship of 2000

p.s i will post more about other assyrian hall of famers one at time every day

i got these infos from www.aina.org


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In 1949, at the age of 16, the late Youra Eshaya joined the Employees Soccer Team in Habbanniah where he gained great experience playing with the great Aram Karam and making one of the best duos with Ammo Baba.

In 1953, he left for Britain after being scouted by Bristol Rovers of England.

After returning to Iraq in 1955, he joined the Iraqi Air Force Soccer Team and in time he was on the Iraqi National Team. He stayed with the Air Force Team until 1971 when he retired from playing. He was mostly known for his play making talent, speed and incredible stamina.

His great career with Assyrian and non Assyrian teams was highlighted with over 75 international games.

Youra was born in Iran in 1933 to Eshaya Pera and Batishwa Benyamin. The family moved to Iraq in mid 1930s and settled in Maharatha Lines in Hinaidi, where Youra's father found work in a NAAFI canteen. In 1937 the family then moved to Habbaniya along with the rest of the Hinaidi Assyrian and Armenian civilians and the Assyrian Levies employed by the Royal Air Force.

When Youra was of age to begin his schooling at the late Raabi Yacoub's R.A.F. Union School, he also started kicking a tennis ball around and playing "football" with his schoolmates and the neighborhood kids. The boy had much love and energy for the game, and hardly was he into his teens when observant eyes began to notice him.

In 1948, Aram Karam, team captain, placed Youra, 15, on his Levy Civilian soccer team, in the forward line. Aram, several years Youra's senior, was then already a top footballer and was, on January 28, 1952, dubbed "Iraq's Greatest Footballer" in The Iraq Times by Andrious Mama Jotyar, a local freelance contributor. During the same year, Youra also captained the Junior team of the R.A.F. Assyrian Employees' Club, which won the junior cup. Realizing Youra's soccer talent and potential, the Employees' Club then snatched him the next year for their center forward. Youra clerked for the R.A.F. and played soccer for the Employees' Club and the C.C. (Civil Cantonment) Select teams for the next several years.

Soccer Skill and Popularity

Although most of Habbaniya's Assyrian footballers were good players, Youra's progress was last and in his very first three years he out-shone most of them. He loved football and played the game with gusto. He was full of energy and worked hard for his team's victory, not his own. He was a constructive player, unselfish, flitting all over the field like a butterfly, collecting and distributing the ball, creating scoring chances for his fellow-forwards. And his constant moving about made him elusive to pin down.

Unlike Aram Karam's famous long-range cannonball shots, Youra's shots were short, and often neat and accurate. Even though he usually played as center-forward or at inside-right, Youra wasn't basically a scorer. He moved between the forward and the defense lines, pursuing and retrieving the ball and feeding the scorers. He would often pass the ball to a better-placed teammate and even in the penalty box rather than take a chance on netting it himself.

Youra had a small but agile body. Although only 5'4" tall, he sometimes beat taller opponents to a header, the ability of which, he said, he had learned by constant practice -- leaping for and heading clothes lines in the Cantonment! Because of his small size, he was sometimes bullied by bigger opponents. But Youra's small body was a live wire, sparking with energy and slippery as an eel!

"Don't you get exhausted running around so much?" I once asked him.
"No!" he replied emphatically. "I tire more when I am waiting for the ball than when I am playing with it."

Amusing Dribbling Wizard

As a dribbler, Youra was a wizard! He was nimble, steady and always the master of the situation. He once told me that he learned his dribbling skill from Youel Gewargis, another great Assyrian footballer of the Habbaniya and Baghdad days.

Youra was shy, but he had a genuine warm smile, and he was friendly with everyone, and everybody liked him. Before Ammo Baba's soccer talent began to surface in 1951-52, Youra became a very popular player in Habbaniya while still in his teens, and I, another local freelance contributor of sports reports, named him "Most Popular Footballer in Habbaniya" in a feature article published in the Christmas 1951 magazine of The Iraq Times.

"What do you think is the reason for your popularity?" I had asked him.

Youra bowed his head for a moment in thought. "I think it is because of my dribbling," he replied. "My tricks amuse the people." Actually, there was more to it than that. Youra did not drive the spectators wild with excitement as Aram Karam and, later, Ammo Baba did with their amazing scoring power, but he was a brilliant dribbler, a persistent and tireless retriever, a clever schemer, an intelligent distributor as well as an amusing performer, attracting the spectator's eye and capturing his heart! People loved to watch his football wizardry.

The Soccer-Crazy Dreamer

No player loved football more than Youra did! In October 1951, Youra broke his nose in a game a few days before his team was to play in Basra against Basra Select. Everyone thought Youra couldn't play. But not Youra! He quickly had nose surgery at the British Hospital and left, with a patched-up nose, three days later with his team for Basra. On the train someone had dropped a cigarette butt into his kitbag, which had caught fire. But broken nose, burned kit or hell or high water, the soccer-crazy Youra reached Basra and played -- in his heat-shriveled football boots! -- sharing in the scoring of one of his team's two goals!

When I once asked him if the rumor was true that he "played" football even in his dreams, Youra kicked a pebble, smiled sheepishly and said, "Yes, I have often jumped out of bed in my sleep shouting to Youel or Aram to pass me the ball!" Youra was a very good table-tennis player, winning the Employees' Club championship for 1951-52. He also played hockey, and he won his very first boxing bout in 1952. Youra left Habbaniya in July 1952 to establish himself elsewhere in the country. But after a short absence he returned, homesick, and rejoined his teams.

Chaotic Arrival

During his arrival in London on the boat train from France, Youra created a commotion! Equipped by the memory of a photograph, 'a travel agency man was to meet and greet Youra at London's Victoria Station to escort him to Paddington to catch a train to Temple Meads in Bristol. But he missed him in the crowd! Mr. John Gummow, Bristol Rovers' secretary, waited at the Bristol station for the "handsome, tanned desert boy" with a photo of Youra in his hand, but Youra was not on the train! He phoned the agency. "Sorry," he was told. "Your desert footballer has slipped through Victoria and vanished! He is somewhere in London." Inspired by the spirit of adventure, Youra had decided to make his own way to Bristol on his own time!

Ordered "Go Home"

Youra was admitted to England on a one-month visitor's permit. Through the intervention of his club manager, Mr. Bert Tann, and other officials, however, he was granted two one-month extensions. But when his time was up, he was ordered to leave the country. In the short period of three months Youra had made such a good impression on the press and the football public that the Home Office's "Go Home" order to Youra created an uproar in both the press and the football circles. Dozens of people offered Youra a job so that he would not be a drag on the labor market, and the Bristol Rovers Club and the Bristol Evening World enlisted the help of members of parliament. Mr. Tann saw Sir Walter Monkton, Minister of Labor and MP for Bristol West, and Mr. W. A. Wilkins, another MP and a football fan, both of whom had a talk with the Home Secretary. "And what will Youra, or the airmen at Habbaniya, or the local Iraqi population, or even the Rovers' players who have taken this swarthy, quiet lad into their hearts and homes think of British justice if the Home Office pushes him ceremoniously back home?" asked the Bristol Evening World.

Granted Residence and Work

The hue and cry and the impassioned appeals finally softened up the Home Secretary, who finally agreed to let Youra stay permanently and play football. He was also granted employment by the National Coal Board and he started working as a miner at Pensford Colliery, Somerset, on November 7,1954.

Delighted Players and Fans

At first Youra played for the Western League team of Bristol Rovers, which was their 3rd team but which called for a high standard of play. Rovers Reserves team was a nursery from which players were picked to play for the higher league teams, and Youra played as an amateur because he was not allowed by the Football Association to play as a paid professional until he had had at least two years' qualified residency in England.

In a short time Youra proved that he could play football as well as any of his English teammates, and the officials were delighted by his talent and future potential, even though some thought his small size might be a problem. But this did not worry Youra because he was confident he could make the grade. Youra quickly proved his worth and was promoted to higher grades. He made friends and was popular among the local football circles. The local press said "he has a lot of football in him," and he was dubbed "Ali Baba," "Live Wire ... .. slippery as an eel," "fastest forward" of the match, "extremely fast and clever in possession," "the footballer who can do everything but the Indian rope trick," and other expressions.

Returned Home and Joined RIAF

But after 16 months of working and playing football for the Bristol Rovers Club, Youra was persuaded to return home. He was pestered by his family's "come-back-home" appeals and by the Royal Iraqi Air Force Commander, Brigadier Kadhum Al-Obaidi, who offered to obtain for Youra and his family members Iraqi naturalization and a place for him on the Force as a warrant officer provided he play soccer for the RIAF team. At first Youra resisted, but finally relented and returned home to Baghdad in December 1955, only months short of his eligibility to play professional football in England! Youra and his family members were Iranian subjects, and obtaining Iraqi naturalization wasn't a particularly easy procedure. But within a very short time Brigadier Al-Obaidi arranged for their papers to be processed and Youra was admitted to the Force as a warrant officer and joined the RIAF soccer team.

Spectators Cheered and Chanted

Soon after returning, Youra played his first two games in January 1956 for the Iraq Select team, one against Turkey's Mersden Club and the other against Teheran Select. They were thrilling games, watched by tens of thousands and broadcast live over Baghdad radio. Two other top Assyrian players, Aummo Baba and the late Aummo Samson, were on the Iraqi team, but the spectators were impatient to watch Youra's English-gained soccer skill -- and they were not disappointed! In the first game, the Iraqis virtually played the Turks off the field, thrashing them 6-O! Although it was Ammo Baba who scored three of the six goals, it was really Youra's day! The crowds were delighted by the little football wizard's fast and brisk moves, clever dribbling and intelligent distribution, which were the roots of every goal scored. Playing in mid-field, he prompted his fellow forwards on, often changing a defensive move into an attack and netting one of the goals himself. Another goal was scored by Ammo Samson.

And in the second match, a week later, the Iraqis beat the Iranians 5-3. Both Youra and Ammo Baba played the games of their lives! As Youra moved all over the field and engineered most of the dangerous moves, Ammo lead his fellow forwards into repeated attacks against the Iranian goal. The fast and tricky Ammo scored four rousing goals and created a pandemonium of excitement in the Scouts Stadium! And at the end of the game, the Iraqi fans engulfed the three Assyrian players and a few other players, cheering and kissing them, and carried them off the field upon their shoulders. Al-Bilad newspaper headlined its story: "20 Thousand Spectators Cheer New Iraqi Football Wizard Youra, Successor of Naser 'Chicko'" and The Iraq Times' banner read: "Ammo Baba Scores Four Goals for Iraq Against Teheran."

National Champion and International Player

Youra played soccer for the Iraqi Air Force and the military and national select teams for almost 15 years. He took part in dozens of international matches, including several in an Assyrian Sports Club all-Assyrian team, both in Iraq and outside, thrilling and entertaining tens and tens of thousands with his skillful and loveable style and glorifying the names Assyrian and Iraqi. But when he married a Swedish girl in 1971, he was suspended from the Force because the Iraqi Baath Government had enacted a rule against Iraqi military men marrying non-Arab foreign women. He was later "unfrozen" and transferred to the Iraqi Habbaniya air base as a sports officer to coach and oversee the training of military sportsmen. Realizing his soccer playing days were over, however, he resigned from the Force shortly thereafter.

Husband, Father and Coach

In 1972 Youra left Iraq to make his home in Goteborg, Sweden, where he raised a family, worked and coached soccer for 20 years, and finally died coaching and training a bunch of Assyrian soccer hopefuls, far away from his ancestral homeland, his sisters, his own people and adoring fans, a stranger among strangers, in a strange land!

Unknown Renowned Grave

Youra's body may lie in a well-built marked grave, in a scenic cemetery, surrounded by green grass and multi-colored flowers, but how many people will visit and "smoke" his grave with frankincense and mourn his passing? And, unfortunately, Youra Eshaya will not be the only noted Assyrian whose grave will remain lonely and unknown in a strange, far-away foreign land!


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ARAM KARAM The Assyrian Bomber

Aram Karam is known as one of the finest and most accomplished soccer players from Iraq. He began his athletic career in 1936 playing for local teams in the district of Henedi, today know as Al-Rashid Military Camp. He then moved to Habbaniya and played for various teams until 1943, when he joined the varsity team, one of the strongest teams in Habbaniya. This team included a number of Assyrian soccer stars such as Shmouel Eshay (Sammy), father of the international soccer player, Gilbert Sammy.

Aram Karam was distinguished as a great player particularly for his uncanny ability in scoring accurate goals. He had the unique ability to score goals from distances of up to 50 yards, with either his right or left foot.

In 1951, he was selected to play as an international player for the Iraqi National Team, competing in its first international game in Ankara, Turkey. Aram proved to be a valuable player in this game as he scored his four goals against their opponent.

During that same year a select team was formed at Habbaniya for which Aram was chosen. This hand picked team achieved a respectable number of championships against other teams from Baghdad including: the Police Team, Air Force Team, and the Royal Guard Team. In 1952 Aram moved to Karkuk (Province of Altiameen), and there he began playing for a newly formed team called the I.P.C. (Iraqi Petroline Company) team. This team went on to win the 1954 championship in Northern Iraq.

Aram was a quick, dominating, and professional player. In a wink of an eye, he could slam the ball into the goal as a bullet. His fans still remember the three exciting goals he scored while playing against the Iranian Taj team in 1956. Soccer fans would agree, Aram Karam?s kicking power was unparalleled.

Aram was the team captain and head coach of the oil company team. This team won six consecutive years in the Middle East Oil Companies Championships under his leadership. In 1960 he retired and was appointed to be in charge of sports in the pipeline areas of the Iraqi Petroline Company. Additionally, Aram was a great asset as advisor to the Iraqi National Soccer Association in the selection of their national team.

Aside from soccer, Aram was also an accomplished tennis player, winning six consecutive years as he competed in the Persian Gulf Tennis Championships.

In 1992 Aram immigrated to the United States, and currently lives in Turlock, California.

He scored approximately 600 goals in his soccer career Which included 35 international games.


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Khoshaba was one of the most outstanding footballers of his generation. As a youngster he started playing football in Habbaniya alongside his friends and the airmen at the RAF base. The talented left-sided player was one of the last players to come out of Habbaniya after the likes Aram Karam, Youl Gorgis, Ammo Baba, Edison and Youra Eshaya, who all started their playing careers there before moving onto greater things in other places in Iraq.

Like many Assyrian greats, Albert participated in a variety of sports while growing up at the RAF Base but there were no questions about what Albert wanted to be when grew up, a footballer.

He started his playing career in 1954 when he joined the R.A.F. Employees' (Assyrian) Club, a year later he was called up for his national service and played for the Army team known as the 3rd Battalion (Al-Fareeka Al-Thalatha) until 1957.

After his discharge from his military service, he moved across Baghdad and joined the Passenger Transport Department team (Al Maslaha Naqil Al-Rakab), where he played for two seasons.

During the midst of uncertainty of life in Iraq brought upon after the 1958 revolution, Albert immigrated to the United Kingdom in 1959 in the hope of living there.

However little under a year later, he became homesick and returned back to Iraq. He quickly joined the Baghdad based club Police team (Al-Shorta), where he was one of the star players in their team before he returned to his former club Al-Maslaha playing alongside Mohammed Thamir, Hormis Goriel, Qais Hameed, Mohammed Majid and Youl Gorgis.

Albert was distinguished from other players due to his agility, calm and composed nature and his remarkable pace and speed, while he was also a fine dribbler with the ball.

Albert was a regular in the Iraqi national team during the mid to late 60s making nearly 40 appearances for Iraq alongside players such as Hamid Fawzi, Hassan Balah, Jabar Rashak, Shidrak Yousef, Gorgis Ismail, Gilbert Awekam, Mahmoud Asad, Nouri Dhiab, Hisham Atta Ajaj and Qasim ?Zawiya? Mahmoud.

On the pitch, Albert was the matinee idol; his blond hair, olive skin and broad smile enticed him to the fans, especially the girls, while off it, he was boyish, modest and admirably intelligent.
One of his greatest accomplishments came in late 1966, when he was selected by coach Adil Bashir to play for the Baghdad Select team in the opening game of the Iraqi People?s National stadium against Benfica of Portugal, who included the greatest player in the world at the time Eusebio in their side.

Albert played on the left-side of midfield with fellow Assyrian Shidrak Yousef in attacking midfield and Hussein Hashim on the right in a more defensive position in a 3 man midfield, part of coach Adil Bashir?s 4-3-3 formation.

Benfica went into half-time with 1-0 lead but 10 minutes into the 2nd half Shidrak and Albert combined to set-up the equaliser for Captain Qasim ?Zawiya? Mahmoud, who hit a thunderous shot from 12 yards to beat the stranded keeper.

Alberto as he was sometimes known to his adoring fans because of his South American or European style, even outshone Eusebio on the day as he picked up the man of the match award however, he was unable to help his side to victory as the Baghdad XI lost 2-1 with a goal from the Portuguese giants in the last ten minutes of the game.

After the game, the 1966 World Cup star Eusebio came up to Albert commended him on his excellent performance and exchanged shirts with him. During that night, the Mozambique born Eusebio told everyone that he had never seen any player as good as Albert on the left side of midfield.

During that game, Eusebio (1966 World Cup MVP), came to Albert after the game at the field and took off his shirt and gave it to Albert as it is ceremonial between players.

His fakes and faints were incredible; his style of play was very European.
As many remember an incident that illustrates his talents and the fear he installed in the opposing teams defense of the memorable game between Al-Ahli team vs. The Military team. Albert was playing for Al-Ahli.
He took the ball to the defense, as he usually does, and kept on dribbling with the ball and all of a sudden, there was no ball !!!
He was dribbling and faking on air ... he had passed the ball "back heel" with the fake to one of his teammates, but he kept dribbling as if he still had the ball to draw the defense, and the defenders followed him for a moment realizing too late it was a fake.

The pass surprised his teammate too, and even though he had an open goal, he hit the side of the net, narrowly missed. keep in mind that The Military Team's defense was probably the best defense in the Middle East. Prior to that game, they stopped East Germany's all-stars from scoring, in a 0-0 draw.


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He started playing soccer in his early teens with the C.C. and Levy C. teams in Habbanniah, Iraq.

After playing in Basra for three years with the BPC team, he moved to Baghdad in 1955 and immediately appointed as Captain and Coach of the newly formed Assyrian Athletic Club of Baghdad.

He was one the members of the legendary 1956 combined Assyrian Team which played and won 6-3 against the Iranian and Middle East powerhouse Taj team.

In 1957, he joined the Public Transport Service team and then selected to join the Iraqi National Team for the Pan Arab Championship in 1957.

Before retiring from the game in W. Germany in 1962, he combined for over 45 International games


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After starting his soccer career at his early teens with local teams, he joined the Iraqi Air Force Club in 1955. He was selected for the Iraqi National team in 1955 were he played until 1965.

During his years with the Iraqi National teams and the Air Force team, he stood out as one of the best players of his time as he was honoured by the central Iraqi league as the best player in 1958.

He was characterized as a patient, swift, strategic planner as he rose to the peek alongside players like Youra Eshaya and Ammo Samson. After moving to the U.S.A., he took on many coaching positions for his great experience and honourable coaching certificate from East Germany.

Currently, he has been appointed as the Head Coach of the Assyrian National Team which is based in North America.

Total International games played: 60.


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Started his soccer career in 1955 with the great Assyrian athletic Club of Baghdad.

After playing two years with the Public Transport Services team from 1956-1958, he moved to the 1st division Air Force Club after being recognized and selected for the Iraqi National Team in 1957. He was the youngest player of the 1957 Pan Arab Games in Lebanon were he played on the Iraqi National Team.

Playing among great players like Ammo Baba, Ammo Samson, Gilbert Sammy, Hisham Ata Ajaj, Youra, Edison and other gave this super striker the tools and skills to shine as one of the most traditional players at his time.

He retired from the soccer fields in 1965 after playing over 65 international games.


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Brief History

One of the thoroughbred of the Habbanniah soccer powerhouse, and a complete athlete in Hockey, and Track & Field.

He was a member of the well known R.A.F. Assyrian Employees' Club of Habbanniah for several years during its existence from the the late 1940s to the mid 1950's.

He was given the captain honour for seven seasons, during which the team won most its local and R.A.F. championships. He also captained the C.C. (Civil Cantonment) select team, which played against the elite Iraqi teams.

He played the half-back position in which he represented the power and the pillar of the defense for the team.

After he moved with his family from Habbanniah to Baghdad, he played for the Baghdad Public Passenger Transport which was one of the best in Iraq. He joined many of the ex-Habbaniah players such as Youel Gewargis, Sargis Shimon Shallou, Zia Shawel, Kakku Gewargis Shallou who also played for the team.

He highlighted his soccer career by playing among the best Assyrian soccer players in the Assyrian National Team of Iraq which was sponsored by the Assyrian Athletic Club of Baghdad which played many memorable matches in Baghdad and Tehran in 1956-1957.

He later moved to Chicago in the mid 1970s where he worked and lived until his early departure at the age of 55.


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The Iraqi Military World Cup
Champions - 1972
Ammo Baba
Assyrian players:
Douglas Aziz, Ammo Yousif, Shidrak Yousif

As one of the most outstanding Assyrian all-round athletes who started his soccer career in 1964 with the Police Club of the Iraqi 1st division league. He was selected for the Iraqi National Team in 1967 until he retired in 1979. He was known and well respected for his excellent athletic ability, confidence, and great stamina on he field.

His sharp skills in penalty kicks, direct and indirect powerful shots gained great respect and fear from his opponents. He is most remembered for his dying seconds goal from midfield against the French Military Team which carried the Iraqi Team to the next level on the way of winning the World Military Cup.

He totaled more than 85 International games which he captained most.


He started playing soccer in his birth place, Habbanniah - Iraq.

After moving to Baghdad and playing with the Assyrian Athletic Club from 1955-1958, he joined the Iraqi Air Force team where he played for two years. He then moved to the Police Soccer Club team where he played from 1960-1973 and played his first international game in 1960 with the Iraqi Armed Forces and the Iraqi National Team joining other Assyrian Stars like Ammo Baba & Youra.

After coaching and playing in Lebanon for two years, he moved to Chicago, USA were he took on coaching the Assyrian Winged Bull team of Chicago and took the team to greatness by winning the Major division of Illinois.

Total International games played: 82.


Started his soccer career with the Assyrian athletic Club from 1957 - 1959. He then moved to the Army Club ( known then as the 3rd Division Team ) were he played from 1959 - 1973. He was selected for the Iraqi National Team were he maintained a permanent spot from 1959 - 1965 as a center forward.

His fans enjoyed his goals as much as he enjoyed scoring these goals especially the winning goals he scored in the 1966 Pan Arab Championship cup final in Baghdad were he was lifted for a distance of five miles after the game from the stadium to his home in Gailani Camp.

He was known for his fearless, fast attacking and self confident style of play.

Total International games played: 50.

Crocodile Bani

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Great stuff Thirsty........Zaya Shawel now lives in Sydney Australia and is a great friend of my uncle. He is a top bloke too.


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Baaba was born on September 15, 1919, at Baquba Refugee Camp, only months after the stragglers of the terrible exodus of the Assyrian people from Persia trudged into the camp. His father was Gewargis Shallou and his mother Nargis Allawerdi, both of the village of Dizzatacka, in the district of Urmia, Iran.

Like most Assyrians, Baaba Yacoub acquired the nickname of "Baaba Kouma", meaning "Black Baaba", because he had a dark complexion. But the nickname was more of a playful jab than a derisive jibe!

Baaba was only months old when Baquba Camp was closed down. In hope of making a living, the Shallou family and many of the other refugees went back to Iran and lived in Hamadan, Iran. But their living conditions were not satisfactory there and after three uneasy years the family returned to Iraq. Gewargis found work as a gardener with the British forces and the family settled down in Kota Camp among the families of the Assyrian and Armenian civilian employees.

In his boyhood, Baaba studied at Raabi Yacoub's Assyrian and Armenian Union School at Kota Camp. After only four years of formal schooling, it became necessary for him to help out in supporting the family while still a youngster. Baaba got a job with the R.A.F., for whom he worked for more than 20 years. He started out working as a metal worker, then as storekeeper and later as a clerk at Hinaidi then at Habbaniya, where in 1943 he married, Christina, daughter of Shmouel Samendu.

Soon after the British handed over Habbaniya to the Iraq Government, in 1955, Baaba and family left Habbaniya and settled in Baghdad. There he got a job as storekeeper with an earth-moving equipment trading company called Rafidain Developments Ltd., for which he worked for almost two decades.

Baaba first put on football boots ? or perhaps ordinary sandals! ? and began kicking a ball around when he was a young boy in Hinaidi in the early 1930's. A few years later, When he had gained enough skill in the game, he got into organized soccer and played for a team called "The Eagles". After the changeover of the R.A.F. air base from Hinaidi to Habbaniya, the Eagles team fizzled out and a new team called "Arsenal" was formed. He played for the "Arsenal" until this team, too, was dissolved early in the 1940's. He then got on the C. C. (Civil Cantonment) team and played for the team until this, too, was disbanded in 1947, when he finally hung up his football boots for good!

" 'Baaba Kouma' played at right-half or left-half," Fraidoun Abraham ls'hak, Baaba's one-time teammate and long-time close friend, told us on the phone from Calgary, Canada. "He was a good football player. He used to race the ball like the wind!" Fraidoun chuckled. "He was also tough against 'dirty' players!"

Baaba's younger brother, Kaku, also was a foot-baller and hockey player in the forties and fifties in Habbaniya. (In fact, the two brothers at one time were on the same team.) In his teens, Kaku played for the C. C. team, and from about 1947 to the mid-1950's he was on the teams of the R.A.F. Assyrian Employees' Club and the C. C. Select. He played in the forward line ? inside-left, inside-right or center-forward. He was a fine player; he had some strong and nippy shots and was a good scorer.

The C. C. soccer team of the mid-1940's ? explained Fraidoun Abraham ls'hak, the veteran soccer goalkeeper of Habbaniya ? was formed of various Assyrian and a few Kurdish and Arab players of disbanded earlier local Habbaniya teams, such as Eagles, Tigers, Arsenal and Blackpool, while the C. C. Select team of the 1950's was the cream of the later local Habbaniya club teams, namely Assyrian Employees, Levy Civilians, A.M.W.D., and Oriental, the latter of Kurds and Arabs.

On July 14, 1990, at the age of 71, Baaba passed on at his home in Baghdad after a long battle with Leukemia. His funeral services were held, on the same day, at St. Andrew's Orthodox Church near Muasker AI-Rasheed in Baghdad, and his body was laid to rest at the new Assyrian cemetary near Baquba town, not far away from where he was born almost 71 years before! About 300 people attended the funeral. He was in semi-retirement for several years before his death.

In Baghdad, Iraq, the Assyrian community, lost a former Assyrian foot-baller. He was one of the early Assyrian foot-ballers who first rallied to the Assyrian soccer fervor of the thirties in Hinaidi, Iraq.

Baaba is survived by his wife Christina and a daughter, Jennie Amer, both of Baghdad; by a son, John, and two other daughters, Joanne Evens and Julie Sargis, all of Modesto; by another daughter, in Canada, Janet Yacoub; and by 12 grandchildren. Another of his survivors is his younger brother, Kaku Gewargis Shallou, who still lives in Baghdad.

Baba is also survived by three other well-known former Habbaniya soccer-playing relatives, his first cousins, the trio of the Shimshoun Shallou's boys: Sargis, one of the very best center-half Habbaniya has ever fielded, and his younger brothers William and Ben.


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As one of the most outstanding Assyrian all-round athletes who started his soccer career in 1964 with the Police Club of the Iraqi 1st division league. He was selected for the Iraqi National Team in 1967 until he retired in 1979. He was known and well respected for his excellent athletic ability, confidence, and great stamina on he field.

His sharp skills in penalty kicks, direct and indirect powerful shots gained great respect and fear from his opponents. He is most remembered for his dying seconds goal from midfield against the French Military Team which carried the Iraqi Team to the next level on the way of winning the World Military Cup.

He totaled more than 85 International games which he captained most


He was one of the most distinguished Assyrian soccer players Iraq ever had. He played for:
The C.C. Varsity from 1960 - 1962
The Army Team (1st Division) from 1963 - 1975
The Iraqi National Teams from 1965 - 1973

He was first recognized on the national level in 1966 during the Pan Arab Championship which Iraq won. He was slim and short, yet he exhibited marvelous characteristics such as flabbergasting encountering ability, amazing stamina, and distributing skills. Indeed he was considered one of the most dangerous mid-field players in the Iraqi National Teams.

He participated in many international tournaments such as:
1. The Pan Arab championships in 1965, 1966.
2. The Olympic final preliminary round in Mexico 1968, Germany 1972.
3. World Military Championship Cup in 1972.
4. World Cup final preliminary round in Australia 1973.

One of the highest individual honours he received was in 1966 when he was picked by the Al-Riadh newspaper as the best player of the year due to his swiftness, stamina, and soccer skills.

Total games played against foreign teams: 72.


Started like most players in Iraq, in the local teams. In 1965 he started playing for one the most popular local team, Itihad Kallar.

He later moved to Itihad Al Elwiya before moving in 1968 to Itihad Ammo Baba.

He made his move to the big clubs in Iraq when he started his Military service in 1970 when he played for Al-Mushat which was regarded at the time as one of the best teams in the Premier circle in Iraq.

He was chosen in 1973 to play for the Iraqi Military Team alongside some the best players in Iraq where he played several International matches in his midfield position.

After his Military service was over, he moved to play for Al-Sinaah Club in the Premier Division in Iraq until 1979 when he immigrated to the USA.

In Chicago, where he established as his new home, he was an inspiring element and a pivot player with the Assyrian Winged Bull Soccer Team.

In 1995, Gibson decided to retire from playing soccer after leaving in the minds of many of his admirers some of the wonderful moments with the team in the Assyrian Community of Chicago.

His trade marks were his excellent gentleman behavior on the field were he exemplified the true meaning of a Real Sportsman


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Moja Moja said:
Great stuff Thirsty........Zaya Shawel now lives in Sydney Australia and is a great friend of my uncle. He is a top bloke too.

finaly someone did reply to this post lol .am glad that you like it khon


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Started his professional soccer career when he played from 1967-1970 for the Army Third Division team. He later moved to one of the most elite teams in Iraq, the Iraqi Air Force, and played from 1976-1978 in the 1st Division.

He was known for his skill and energy on the field, which led to his inavidable selection for the Iraqi National Team in 1970 alongside many stars like Douglas Aziz, Hassan Balah, Gilbert Awekam, Ali Kathem, and his brother Shidrak Yousif.

He participated in three international military soccer championships:
1. 1972 in Baghdad, Iraq where the Iraqi team won the championship.
2. 1977 in Syria where the team won the championship for the second time.
3. In Kongo Brazaville, where the Iraqi team was second to the Italian team.

He was one of the few players who had the chance to play professionally outside Iraq when he played two seasons for the Lebanese Racing soccer team from 1971-1972. He was distinguished as a swift player with special offensive capabilities as a forward.

After retirement, he worked with the Air Force soccer team as an assistant coach under the great Yugoslavian coach Voia Verdovitch and later as a coach for the team.

Total games played against foreign teams: 55


He started on the national level at the young age of 16, as he played for one of the most powerful clubs in Iraq, " The Mighty Zawraa" from 1969 to 1987. He was part of the most joyful and dangerous offensive trio in Iraq during the seventies that included Ali Kathem and the great Falah Hassan. Among this trio, he was the top league scorer for 3 years and 2nd best for 2 years.

He was first selected for the national team at the age of 19 and was part of the Iraqi Olympic team for the 1980 Olympics in Moscow.

His trophy case includes the 1977 and 1979 World Military Cup Championships, the 1972 and 1974 Pan Arab Cup Championships, and the 1976 and 1979 Arab Gulf Cup Championships.

His accomplishments on the national level includes many league and Cup championships with the Zawraa Club whom he played for 19 years.

He scored over 150 goals in his playing career which included 37 international games.


He played with Ammo Baba, Youra Eshaya and his brother William on the R.A.F. Employees' (Assyrian) Club in Habbaniya.
He later joined Public Transport Service FC (Maslahat Al Naqil Wal Rakab) with the likes of Youel Gewargis, his brother William, Hormis Goriel, Kako Gewargis, the grear Iraqi goalkeepr Mohammed Thamir ' The Black Panther' .

He played for the Assyrian National Football Team that was organised by the Assyrian Sports Club (Nadi Athori) of Baghdad against the Taj Club of Iran in 1956 in the Scouts Staduim in Baghdad which won the game 5-3, with a hat-trick from the star forward and Captain Aram Karam.


In 1942, he represented the Mosul Primary Schools Select team, playing against other cities in Iraq.

In 1944, moved to Kirkuk and joint (IPC), were he selected to represent the (IPC) Football Team in many games inside and outside Iraq. The team was the Championship winners for all Middle East Associated Companies for 5 years.

In 1956, and after playing for the Assyrian 1st Division soccer team, and Kirkuk City Select team more than 10 years, he was selected to represent the First Assyrian National Soccer Team which played against The Iranian Taj Club in Baghdad and Tehran.

In 1962, he became the first soccer coach for the Assyrian Youth team in Kirkuk where he stayed for 8 years.

In addition to Football (Soccer), his athletic talents included Tennis and Swimming.

Total games played against foreign teams: 45.


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By an anonymous Assyrian Sports Columnist Forwarded by Mr. Paul D. Newey of Chicago, IL.
Alex Agase is without doubt the first Assyrian to gain fame as an athlete in the United States of America. Agase was born and raised in Evanston, IL. and went to the University of Illinois in 1941 where he became one of the greatest guards in Big Ten history. He has the rare distinction of becoming an all-American at two Big Ten schools.

Agase made All-America at Illinois in 1942 and made headlines in the third game of that season. He caused and recovered two fumbles for touchdowns to lead underdog Illinois,to 20-13 victory over a Minnesota team that had won the last two national championships.

World War II interrupted his career somewhat. He was sent to O.C.S (Officer Candidate School)at Purdue where he played football while earning his commission and was again named all-American in 1943. After receiving his commission as lieutenant, he was sent to the Pacif ic Theater of War. He engaged in the battle of Okinawa where he won a Purple Heart among his other medals.

After the war, he returned to Illinois to complete his education. this time he not only made All-America, but was selected as the Big Ten's Most Valuable Player while leading the Illinois to the Big Ten championship in 1946.

With that title came a bid to the Rose Bowl, the first in the new contract between the Big Ten and the Pac Ten. UCLA was the Pac Ten Champion. The Bruins did not to play Illinois, they felt they'd rather play No. 1 ranked Army for a chance at the national championship.

They were lucky they didn't play Army. Illinois walloped UCLA 45-14. Also on that Illinois team was another Agase, Alex's younger brother Louis. Alex and Lou were instrumental in the win as were other greats such as Buddy Young, Julie Bykovich, Perry Moss Ruck Steger.

After College, Alex played pro ball with the Cleveland Browns before going into coaching. He teamed up with Ara Parseghian and together they revived the Northwestern program in the 1960s and 1970s.

Ara left Northwestern for Notre Dame and Alex was the head coach at the Evanston school from 1964 through 1972. His 1970 and 1971 teams finished second in the Big Ten. He returned to pursue as head coach from 1973-1976. After that he was athletic director at Eastern Michigan for five years and then as an assistant coach at Michigan befor the 1947 Illinois team after Alex had graduated and then became an assistant coach at Illinois. Lou also served as a head coach for Toronto in the Canadian Football League.

There was still another Agase brother who was a fine athlete, a left handed pitcher at the University of Illinois who was signed by the Philadelpia Phillies but suffered an arm injury in the minor league and had to give up the game.

The Agase Athletes .... A fine Assyrian tradition.

Organization Mmberships - Accomplishments, Rcognitions & Awards
1943-1946 U.S. Marines - Awarded Purple Heart-Bronze Star
1942-1943 All American - Illinois
1943 All American - Purdue
1946 BIG TEN - Most Valuabel Player
1947-1953 NFL Professional Football - Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Colts
1963 Inducted into National College Hall of Fame
1964-1972 Head Coach at NorthWestern University
1970 Football Writers - National Coach of the Year
1973-1976 Head Coach at Purdue Univeristy
1977-1982 Atheletic Director Eastern Michigan University
1982-1988 Assistanc Coach - University of Michigan
All Time Teams - Univeristy of Illinois & Purdue University
Diamond Anniversay ALL BIG TEN SELECTION
Chicago Medal of Merit Recipient
Chicago Sportsman of the Year


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Born on Feb. 14th, 1931 in the province of Nineveh of north of Bet-Nahreen (Iraq today), Isaac Y. Isaac discovered his passion for sports in the elementary schools and quickly this interest resurrected a talent that unveiled one of the best goalkeepers our teams trusted between the posts.

With his proven talent at the schools' tournaments in Mousel and Kirkuk cities, his election for the IPC Iraq team was inevitable.

He then was elected to join the Assyrian Arsenal Team in the 1st division and picked as the MVP player of that year. In 1952 he was selected in the Iraqi Army team that registered Iraq's first National win, which led the way for his placement in the Assyrian National.

He earned the position of the keeper of the Assyrian National team of 1956 which registered many International wins in the area especially their memorable win over the Taj of Iran Club in 1956.

He he was appointed a referee position in the Kirkuk Soccer Association in 1955 were he excelled to be awarded a referee's position in the Iraqi Soccer Federation from 1965 ? 1970.

In 1971, he took on another challenge, as he received an honorary scholarship for apprenticeship for coaching that led to his head coach position with the Labour Combined of Kirkuk Team.

As he arrived in Canada, the Assyrians of Toronto were enthusiasts to form a team to represent them and found no better than Coach Isaac to lead them in to victories in 1981.

His most current accomplishment is a completed novel entitled ?Sports In Mesopotamia?, which includes:
A brief history of the game of Soccer and the physiological, physical, and psychological components that precede the success of the sport and athletic performance.

His writings are fundamental to the Assyrian community as the novel is targeted to it in both script and illustrations


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Ramon Babei

Since the birth of boxing sport in Iran in 1941, when the sovereignty of Iran was shaken by the waring forces of World War II, and until few years before the Islamic revolution in 1978, the pictures of the Assyrian athletes have decorated the pages of the national Iranian sports literature.
Alexander Auseepof (Shura) is one of the founders of the sport of boxing in Iran. Along with Alexander, the names of other renowned ahtletes such as the late George Eissabek, Eisar Eilkhanof, William Adamzadeh, Wilhelm Yonani, Ehs Abhari, and Ramon Babaei decorate the pages of the sport history of Iran.

Ramon Babaei, bom in 1941, is the last Assyrian boxing champion member of the Iranian national boxing team, He is one of several Assyrians throughout the history of sports in Iran that has contributed to the success of Iran in the national sports arenas. In 1971, he won the Gold Medal in the Asian championship contest, thus making his country of Iran proud of having raised an Assyrian son like him, and his Assyrian nation proud of a son that has brought her recognition and appreciation.

Ramon started his boxing career at an early age under the directions of the late George Eissabek. During his colorful career from 1961 through 1971, Ramon won many regional and national Iranian contests that led to his membership in the Iranian National Boxing Team; a position sought after by many athletes.

The following is a list of Ramon's boxing events participations and accomplishments as a member of the Iranian national boxing team in the 63.5 kilogram level:

The Iran-Turkey games (1963)
The Asian Olympics (1966)
The Asian boxing Championship games(1967)
The Iran-Rumania games (1968)
The Asian Boxing Championship games(1970)
The Asian Boxing Championship games (1971 - Champion)

After earning the championship title in the 1971 Asian games, Ramon retired from his boxing career and married his sweetheart in 1972. He continued his activity in Iranian boxing and became a nationally known referee. He then refereed in the Asian games which led to further success where he became an international boxing referee.

In 1979 Ramon and his family moved to the Untied States and settled in Los Angeles, California. He continued his involvement in international boxing until 1984 when he retired having held the prestigious office of the President of the association of the Southern California Boxing Referees. The following is a list of the games where Ramon was in the ring as a referee:

U.S. National Boxing Team versus the European Common Wealth Championship Team (Reno, Nevada - 1981)
U.S. National Boxing Team versus the Yugoslavian National Team (Louisiana - 1982)
The Intemational Boxing Championship contest (Los Angeles - 1983)
The National U.S. Boxing Championship contes t (Colorado - 1984)

Currently, Ramon lives with his bittersweet memories of the past, his beloved wife Frida and his child in Glendale suburb of Los Angelese, California. Ramon satisfies his desires for boxing by watching the games on the screen of his home television set.


Many of the older 'Nejmeh' Club fans of Lebanon enjoy hearing the sound of his name as a reminder of the good old days of soccer, where soccer was a mixture of love and giving to the team and fans.

He was a cornerstone among many greats that made up a lot of the great history for his Club, Al Nejmeh.

He still caries a big wound on his upper right thigh, that he earned over 35 years ago, courtesy of an intentional kick from the great Hementmen player, Mardek, when Wanya scored two goals in their game and Nejmeh won that day 3-2.

he started in Beirut through a local team organized in the 50's and moved later with all its players to the Nejmeh Club to bring many championships that made this club the best in Lebanese history to date. The team which was known as Al-Hamra, included many players like Sameh Shatela and his brothers, Muhi Al-Deen Enani, Hassan Al-Mankosh and many more who later became stars in Lebanon's soccer history.

He had all the qualities of a great player and a dangerous striker, as his tremendous speed was the key to all Nejmeh's attacks and his scoring ability was to be feared. His presence in the right time in front of the opponent's goal one of his best skills and trademark as many remember the six goals he scored in the 8-0 win over the Hikma.


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William was born in 1933 in Mosul, Iraq to Daniel Orahim and Parru Barkhu. He spent his childhood in Gailani Camp, Baghdad his early boyhood in Maharatha Lines, Hinaidi, and his adolescence and early manhood in Habbaniya. Both Hinaidi and Habbaniya were Royal Air Force bases in Iraq.

William began his schooling at Raabi Espania's school at Maharatha Lines and completed his primary education at Raabi Yacoub's school in Habbaniya. In 1949, at 16 years of age, he obtained a job with the Air Ministry Works Directorate (AMWD) as a junior clerk then gradually worked his way up to chief clerk during a stretch of only seven years.

William Daniel participated in various sports at school in Habbaniya, but played in earnest in his early teens. He played not only tennis and hockey but also soccer and table tennis. Also, he took part in track and field games, excelling in high jump. He was a good dancer, too.

In his teenage years, Williams showed a promising talent in soccer, but an accident nipped it in the bud! In a cup final between the Assyrian Employees and AMWD Club teams, William, playing on the wing for AMWD, dribbled past a couple of opposing players and scored. But not before a tackling defender had kicked him in the face, opening an eight-stitch gash under his eye! After that, his father, a strict man, absolutely forbade him to play soccer again!

In 1948, noticing William's apparent talent for tennis, a Squadron Leader Dymock and a Wing Commander Gullan of the R.A.F. had offered to take him to England for proper training and coaching at their own expense. But protective of his young son, his father had declined the offer.

During his peak years in tennis, William's fame spread beyond the perimeter of Habbaniya. He, along with Andrew Simon, were once offered secure, well-paying positions and family accommodation at "staff" level by the Basra Port Authority if only they would play tennis for their club. They accepted the offer at an interview in Basra, but changed their minds on returning to Habbaniya! Once, two groups of Habbaniya sports enthusiasts debated whether William Daniel or another renowned tennis player, in Baghdad, named Eramia Youshia who was trained and coached by a Squadron Leader Freith at the YMCA where Eramia's father worked, was the Assyrian champion.

To settle the argument, a "grudge" match was arranged and played at Habbaniya. William beat Eramia in three straight sets, gaining from Eramia himself the admittance that he was "the best!"

In 1950, at the young age of 17 William Daniel married Mary, daughter of Odisho Enviya and Rehanta Nona. The teenaged couple immediately started a family that eventually grew into five sons and three daughters. All of their children except their youngest, Zaia live in Sydney Australia.

In Habbaniya, William and his partner Andrew Simon dominated the tennis court for a decade in the 1940's and 1950's and were star players on the hockey field. Between them, they picked off many of Habbaniya's Civil Cantonment and the R.A.F. Station tennis championship trophies, and in Baghdad and elsewhere they beat many top Iraqi and British, American, Lebanese, Indonesian, Egyptian and other foreign players, crowning their victories with several national championship titles. Partnered together, the pair won the Iraq Challenge Championship cup for 1955 and 1956, and in partnership with Abbas Abid, one of Iraq's brightest star players, William shared three consecutive national championships in 1961-63.

In December 1955, William Daniel left Habbaniya, with his family, and settled in Baghdad, where he was offered a job as an assistant superintendent by KOC (Khanaquin Oil Company). A few years later, KOC was absorbed by the Ministry of Oil in the nationalization process; William worked for the Iraqi Oil Ministry for the next 16 years.

William had already joined the YMCA and the Alwiyah Club to play tennis, but the Ministry required him and another top tennis-playing employee named Abbas Abid to compete in a tennis game in the name of the Ministry. Accordingly, William and his partner Andrew the played and won the Iraq Doubles Championship for three years running (1961-63). The third year, they retained the rolling cup and presented it, with their names engraved on it, to the Ministry, and the Ministry, in turn, awarded each of them a gold watch!

While in Baghdad, William and his friend and tennis partner Andrew Simon were associated with the Assyrian Sports Club and in whose name they won two national doubles championships in 1955 and 1956. The two, along with a few other Habbaniya Assyrians, also played some friendly hockey matches for the club against the Iraqi Army and Air Force teams.

In 1962 William and Andrew, his tennis partner were selected, along with two Arabs, to represent Iraq on a tennis tour to Egypt and Lebanon. But later, Andrew and one of the two Arabs were dropped and William was partnered with another Arab.

The next year, William was again selected with two Arabs to make the three-player team. But when William had insisted on having Andrew as his doubles partner, he too was dropped from the team. It was said that the nation and the majority in Iraq (Arabs) would not be represented by a majority of players of a minority group (Assyrians) even if they were the best players!

In the 1970's, the Assyrian exodus from Iraq intensified. In 1974 William and his family departed to Beirut, Lebanon. After the usual wait, they eventually immigrated, through a refugee agency, to Sydney, Australia.

From 1976 to 1981 William played tennis for the Blacktown District team, initially a Grade 3 team on a scale of eight grades. But within the first year the team played itself to Grade 1, and William gained the Captaincy of the team. Later he was elected coach and managed the team and for which he also broke in two other Assyrian players, namely Joseph Tamraz, and a former Habbaniya player named Youkhanna Odisho.

For the first six years, William worked as an export shipping supervisor for a company called P.D.S. Co-op, and for 18 months as manager for Nineveh Club. He then traveled to Melbourne and worked there, again as export shipping supervisor, for the next three and a half years. Next he got a job as an accounts-payable supervisor in United Dairies at North Paramatta, Sydney, where he has been working since 1985.

William is now voluntary coach and manager for tennis and soccer teams of the Assyrian Sports & Cultural Club of Sydney. He was the club's secretary for two years (1982-84) and its president for three years (1985-88). He is also now the Assyrian Church of the East's secretary for welfare and immigration matters.

1988 William Daniel presented trophies at the Assyrian Cup Final in Sydney, Australia. William is the president of Assyrian Sports and Cultural Club. The team of this club were the winners in the Final against the Assyrian United Soccer team.

William Daniel and Andrew Simon were not only friends but also tennis partners and hockey teammates. They were two of Habbaniya's top sportsmen and were sought-after tennis champions in Iraqi sports circles.


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Andrew was born in Khatoun Camp in 1928, on the Tigris bank, close to Hinaidi, to Khatoun Setrakian and Yosip Shamasha Sulaiman. He was raised in Khatoun Camp and in Maharatha Lines and grew up and was married in Habbaniya, where he also spent a goodly part of his life.

Andrew was born in Khatoun Camp in 1928, on the Tigris bank, close to Hinaidi, to Khatoun Setrakian and Yosip Shamasha Sulaiman. He was raised in Khatoun Camp and in Maharatha Lines and grew up and was married in Habbaniya, where he also spent a goodly part of his life.

Andrew studied at Raabi Espania's and Raabi Yacoub's schools. After finishing the sixth primary grade, he started working in 1943 at the young age of 15. During his 14 years of civil service for the Royal Air Force (R.A.F.) he was employed in various clerical positions, ending as a Grade I clerk. He derived much experience from his work and improved his English language skills by enrolling in two composition cources through correspondence from England.

In 1948, at age 20, Andrew Simon married Sophia(Sabikky), daughter of Oney Zaia and Surma Elisha, in the Civil Cantonment (C. C.) Habbaniya. The couple were blessed with five daughters and a son.

Andrew Simon, as well as his tennis partner William Daniel, were once offered secure, well-paying positions and family accommodation at "staff" level by the Basra Port Authority if only they would play tennis for their club. They accepted the offer at an interview in Basra, but changed their minds on returning to Habbaniya!.

Like all good sportsmen, Andrew Simon, got involved in sports at a very young age. He began playing tennis and other sports when he was seven or eight. Mr. Mikhael Pius, the author of this biography says "I remember this personally, for at the time he and I were playmates and our homes were in the same bungalow in Maharatha Lines camp. We used to play tennis and other games together, with two other companions, behind our bungalow. We each had an old racket and we had scratched a 'tennis court' on the ground and had stretched a strong string between two sticks stuck in the ground for a net".

Andrew was a member of the Assyrian Employees Club from 1946 to 1957 and serving as its secretary for three years , he also played for its hockey team and was, for a while, on its soccer team. He was one of the very best on the C. C. hockey team, leading all in scoring power!

In 1957, Andrew Simon left Habbaniya and moved with his family and settled in Dora, a township southeast of Baghdad, where several hundred Assyrian families lived. Andrew lived there and worked for various commercial firms in Baghdad during the next 25 years.

While in Baghdad, Andrew was associated with the Assyrian Sports Club and in whose name he and and his friend and tennis partner William Daniel won two national doubles championships in 1955 and 1956. The two, along with a few other Habbaniya Assyrians, also played some friendly hockey matches for the club against the Iraqi Army and Air Force teams. Andrew also played in various local tennis tournaments and was a member of the Dora Club from 1960 to 1967.

Andrew later picked up a sturdy hockey stick along the way and within the next 12 or 15 years, he became a tennis champion as well as a "wizard" on the hockey field, harvesting a crop of 65 silver cups, 22 silver medals and 10 silver jugs for trophies during his sports career! He also developed some skill in soccer, table tennis, volleyball and swimming.

In 1962 Andrew and his friend and tennis partner William were selected, along with two Arabs, to represent Iraq on a tennis tour to Egypt and Lebanon. But later, Andrew and one of the two Arabs were dropped and William was partnered with another Arab.

In 1963 Andrew's friend and tennis partner William was again selected to join two Arabs in a three-player team. However, William insisted on having Andrew as his doubles partner, this was not accepted and William was dropped from the team. It was said that the nation and the majority in Iraq (Arabs) would not be represented by a majority of players of a minority group (Assyrians) even if they were the best players!

In Habbaniya, Andrew and his friend and tennis doubles partner William Daniel dominated the tennis court for a decade in the 1940's and 1950's and were star players on the hockey field. Between them, they picked off many of Habbaniya's Civil Cantonment and the R.A.F. Station tennis championship trophies, and in Baghdad and elsewhere they beat many top Iraqi and British, American, Lebanese, Indonesian, Egyptian and other foreign players, crowning their victories with several national championship titles. Partnered together, the pair won the Iraq Challenge Championship cup for 1955 and 1956, and in partnership with Abbas Abid, one of Iraq's brightest star players, William shared three consecutive national championships in 1961-63.

Andrew was a strong partner in the doubles. He never won a singles crown, though he came pretty close to it a few times. But he did beat the R.A.F. Station champion, Wing Commander Seabrook, in a friendly match in 1950 if that was any consolation! and was a doubles champion many times.

In 1982 Andrew Simon left Baghdad with his family, and immigrated to England. He is a British citizen and has been working as manager for an import and export company in London. But presumably missing the abundance of warm sunshine and fed up with the constant burden of a raincoat and umbrella, Andrew says he's nursing hopes of retiring, at 65, to a life in Australia. Perhaps he wants to be close not only to his eldest daughter Janet, but also to his old Habbaniya friend and tennis partner, William Daniel. The irony of it, however, is that William, too, has a dream of his own. He has already visited the United States four times and obviously likes it, for he's now thinking of the prospects of immigrating to this country, where he would also be closer to two of his younger brothers! But, then, perhaps it's written in the stars that the twin shall always be worlds apart!

Today, almost five decades later, Andrew Simon and his old friend and partner William Daniel are still holding on tight to their tennis rackets, but they let go of their hockey sticks many years ago.

Andrew Simon, still loves tennis. He still uses his nasty left-handed mixture of drives, chops, volleys and smashes to enjoy his favorite sport and to keep in trim, managing also to snatch an occasional trophy in senior local matches. He now plays for a second division club called Brentham Club. Andrew hasn't given up trying for a singles title!

He has made it thrice to the semi-final and twice to the final, but each time he was stopped by contestants a decade or two his junior. But he was in four veterans' finals, of which he succeeded to win two!

In January-February 1990, during his third trip to Australia visiting with his eldest daughter Janet and family Andrew says he and William Daniel got together and had a "nice clash" in tennis. They played eight singles against each other. He managed to beat his old partner in three matches! The two also teamed up against an Australian pair in two friendlies, winning them both!

Andrew is the youngest of four siblings: Artoush lives in Chicago, his sister Wardeh Baza in Turlock, Calif., and an older brother, Shummon, passed on in Baghdad in 1989.


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Name: Basil Georgis Hanna
Date of Birth: September 6, 1961
Club: Al-Shabab
Position: Midfielder

Played in Al-Shabab Club in Baghdad all his career as a franchise player.

Was the only Assyrian player who played on the biggest arena in World Soccer when he was part of The Iraqi National Soccer Team in World Cup '86 in Mexico. He played two games and had to miss the third game due to a mistaken identity in a red card sent off.

He was one the integral parts parts in the Iraq B team that won the Pan-Arab games against Morocco in 1985, where he scored the only goal of the final and led the way to Iraq's Gold Medal against Morocco (1 - 0).

He helped Iraq in the 1988 Gulf Championship in Saudi Arabia. In that year, he scored Iraq's goal in a famous 1-1 draw against Syria in the 1988 Arab Championship Final in Jordan , which went into extra-time with Iraq winning 4-3 on penalties.

In that memorable year, he also crowned his career with another honour of being on the Iraqi Olympic team in Seoul in 1988.
His last major appearance on the national arena was in the Arab Cup in 1989 which Iraq won

Basil Georgis (No. 14), Natik Hashem and Khadum Mutasher in the Final World Cup Qualification round match (3rd round) in 1985. Iraq won the 2nd leg 3-1 to qualify in Damascus.
No. 14 became a popular number among Assyrian young players who challenged to wear the number in Iraq and Outside Iraq.