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Baghdad: An AFC futsal development team has started an assessment visit to Iraq with the aim of developing and improving the sport in the West Asian country.

The visit, under the AFC Futsal Development Programme, started with a meeting at the Iraqi Football Association (IFA) headquarters with IFA General Secretary Sabah R. Jebur giving a warm welcome to the AFC delegation.

Also present at the meeting were IFA Chairman of Futsal Committee and Board Member Adil Kareem Alwan Al Yasiri, national coaches, referees and media representatives.

“This assessment visit is very important as it will open new horizons to promote the game in the country,” he said in his welcoming speech. “Futsal is a popular sport in Iraq so this will help improve the game.

“I believe there’s plenty of room for improvement in the development of futsal. Most importantly is the direction of the IFA towards the development of futsal we are willing to work closely with the AFC futsal development team.

“I hope this assessment visit will be successful for the development of futsal in Iraq.”

AFC Director of Futsal and Beach Soccer Development Ali Targholizade, who led the visiting AFC team, said: “AFC has been planning to visit Iraq since the past two years, and now we are glad to be here for this assessment visit.

“Iraq is one of the strong teams from the West region in the AFC Futsal Championship and is one of the pioneer countries in Asia which has consistently qualified for the final round.”

Targholizade also explained the various phases of the assessment visit, stressing that futsal is key to creating talented and skillful players for football. He also mentioned other countries the team had visited under the AFC Futsal Development Programme.