NEWCASTLE Jets have signed Iraqi winger Ali Abbas Al-Hilfi for the remainder of the season as a replacement for the injured Shaun Ontong.
Abbas comes to the Jets from NSW Premier League outfit, Marconi Stallions, and has also played for Al-Talaba and Al-Quwa Al-Jawlya in his homeland.
The talented 23-year-old was a part of the Iraq national team squad that stunned the football world when they lifted the 2007 AFC Asian Cup, defeating Saudi Arabia 1-0 in the final. However, it would be in November of that year that Abbas would grab personal headlines by seeking asylum in Australia after playing against the Olyroos for the Iraqi Under-23 side in a 2008 Beijing Olympics qualifier in Gosford.
After settling in Australia, the dynamic Abbas will now set his sights on cementing his spot in the A-League.
"We are very pleased and proud to have Ali on board as a part of our club as the team embarks on the remainder of the season," club CEO John Tsatsimas said today.
"No doubt he will bring a great degree of verve and vitality to the side, and we have no doubts that he will continue to develop on the potential that he has shown with the Iraqi national team, and with Marconi, during his time in the Hunter."
"Ali has been trialling here for the past few days and Branko Culina and his coaching staff were determined to have him as part of the squad moving forward."
"We obviously have a huge match against one of our main rivals in Sydney FC this weekend, so Ali's signing comes at a wonderful time for us and we wish he and the team all the very best heading into the big game," Mr. Tsatsimas concluded.