AFC Asian Cup Player in Focus: Iraq’s Marwan Hussein
The golden generation of Iraqi players that won the 2007 AFC Asian Cup is now fading away, and a new generation is gradually replacing their heroes.
In 2013, a young, fresh Iraq team blew away all the competitors to win their first AFC U-22 Championship in Oman.
Without losing a single game, the Iraq side impressed with their slick attacking football, scoring nine goals in six games.
Four of those goals were scored by a young man considered to be one of the hottest prospects in Asian football - Marwan Hussein.
At just 23 years of age, Hussein recently transferred from Al Zawra’a SC to their arch rivals Al Shorta SC in the Iraqi Premier League. He was a prolific goalscorer at Al Zawra’a, helping them to the title in 2010/11.
After his impressive showing at the 2013 U-22 AFC Championship, Hussein has been brought into the senior national team.
In March 2014 he was a part of the squad that beat China 3-1 in an AFC Asian Cup qualifying game.
The Gulf Cup of Nations, which concluded on Tuesday in Saudi Arabia, has been a good test for many of the teams leading into the Asian Cup, and Marwan Hussein made his debut on November 15 in a 1-0 loss against Kuwait. Unfortunately for both Hussein and his Iraqi teammates the Lions of Mesopotamia were knocked out of the tournament at the group stage.
For the man expected to be the heir apparent to Iraq legend Younis Mahmoud, the Asian Cup in Australia could be the tournament that kick-starts his senior international career. Watch this space.