DUBAI // Iraq international Mohannad Abdulraheem has begun training with Al Nasr after finalising a one-year deal with the club on Wednesday.
The striker, who last week scored all four goals in his country's 4-0 victory against Thailand in the 2018 World Cup qualifier, joined the Dubai side from Al Zawraa in his homeland. He is expected to take Wanderley's place in the squad, with the Brazilian serving a provisional 60-day suspension handed down by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).
Abdulraheem, 23, began his youth career at his native Al Karkh FC in 2006 and graduated to the first team in 2009. Three years later, he moved to Duhok where he spent two seasons from 2012 to 2014 before a season with JS Kabylie in Algeria. He returned to Iraq to join Al Zawra’a in 2015. It is anticipated that he will make his Nasr debut on Sunday, in their Arabian Gulf Cup clash with Al Ain at Al Maktoum stadium.
Abdulraheem, who has the option to renew if the move proves successful, is signed as Nasr’s Asian player and joins Jires Kembo Ekoko, Jonathan Pitroipa and Abdelaziz Barrada to complete Ivan Jovanovic’s foreign contingent until January, when the club will then seek to reregister Wanderley as a Brazilian.
Wanderley, 27, was banned from playing in Asia for 60 days on September 2 by the AFC, the continent’s governing body, pending an investigation based on a statement by Indonesian state authorities that the Indonesian passport held by the forward was a forged or falsified document.
Recruited from Sharjah during the summer, Wanderley made an immediate impact for Nasr. He scored twice in their 3-0 win over Qatari side El Jaish in the first leg of their Asian Champions League quarter-final on August 24.
However, Nasr were forced to forfeit that game and were beaten 1-0 in the return leg last month as they bowed out of the continental championship 4-0 on aggregate.
His replacement, Abdulraheem made his international debut in 2012 and has 11 goals in 28 international appearances. In 2012, he won the Asian young player of the year award and was also named the Most Valuable Player in the AFC U19 Championship.
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