Ipswich: Talented footballer looking for a club after fleeing war-torn Iraq

Bashdar Saleh hopes to make a name for himself on the Ipswich football scene

Bashdar Saleh hopes to make a name for himself on the Ipswich football scene - Credit: Archant

A talented footballer who fled his war-torn homeland is desperate to resurrect his sporting ambitions with a local team.

Bashdar Saleh left his family behind as a 16-year-old and travelled to England alone to escape the conflict in Iraq in 2009 after his older brother Saman was killed by a gang.

At the time Bashdar was a promising goalkeeper with Dubiz, a second division team in Iraq, where he trained alongside the likes of Iraqi national captain Younis Mahmoud.

After arriving in England unable to speak a word of English, he was initially sent to Wakefield before being placed in a children’s centre in Sunderland, where he tried to continue his fledgling football career.

He had a trial for the Sunderland academy in 2010, as well as playing for his college, Sunderland Samba and the National Christian Football Team.

Now, the 20-year-old has recently moved in with friends in Norwich Road, Ipswich, and is hungry for a chance to lace his boots up and get his dreams of becoming a professional footballer back on track.

Bashdar, who can also play at right back, said: “It was a very, very hard thing to do. I miss my family and my home country a lot, but I am shy so I don’t talk about home much.

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“I have always loved football, but my friends have no idea about any teams around here. All I want to do is play.”

The youngster, who met former Liverpool and Holland winger Bolo Zenden during his time in the north east, is working part-time and hopes to return to college to improve his English further.

At 18 he was granted a ‘leave to remain’ by the Home Office, and the Sunderland supporter is already showing signs of becoming an adopted Tractor Boy

He said: “I love walking past the ground in the mornings. It would be very special if I could play there one day.”

Anyone interested in offering Bashdar a trial can call him on 07402 944404.

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