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The New Arab Staff

FIFA sends condolences to Iraq over death of football star Nazem Shaker

Shaker was the former head coach of the national team [Twitter]

Date of publication: 13 September, 2020

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Nazem Shaker was announced dead earlier this week after contracting the novel coronavirus.
FIFA has sent a message of condolences to Iraq over the death of former national player Nazem Shaker.

The global footballing body's statement came after authorities in Iraq said the national team player died on Friday after contracting the novel coronavirus.

"We extend our sincere condolences to the Iraqi people and to the family and friends of the former international star Nazem Shaker, who passed away at the age of 62 years after a struggle with disease," FIFA’s statement said.

"The deceased was a player, coach and one of the team's stars in the 1986 World Cup," it added.

Shaker, who was born in Baghdad in 1958 was buried on Saturday in the presence of other prominent Iraqi players, including Yunus Mahmoud.

In 1978, Shaker played for the Iraqi youth team and moved onto the national team in 1979. He participated in several tournaments, including the 1986 World Cup final match against Mexico.

The Iraqi player retired in 1988 following an injury and spent subsequent years training clubs in Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, as well as the head coach of Iraq’s national team in 2010-2011.

Shaker is the third prominent Iraqi sports figure to die of Covid-19 in recent months.

National team star Ahmed Radi and coach Ali Hadi also succumbed to the disease, according to reports.

To date, Iraq has recorded 286,778 cases of the virus and 7,941 deaths.

Iraq's hospitals have already been worn down by decades of conflict and poor investment, with shortages in medicines, hospital beds and even protective equipment for doctors.

Read also: Iraq Olympic football team goalkeeper Karrar Ibrahim found dead in car

Particularly stark is the "severe shortage of oxygen", according to the World Health Organization, which recently airlifted 300 oxygen concentrators to help Iraqi hospitals cope in July.

Aid has also been donated from foreign countries, most recently Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and the US.

Despite this, Iraq relaxed its curfew measures after imposing a strict country-wide lockdown in late March.

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