In my interview with sports personalities, I have come across many but none like Kinan Kadir. Kinan Kadir is one of the pioneers in Kurdish Football. He is also associated with Kurd Stars FC which is a Kurdish Football Club in London, England, Great Britain. I would like to welcome him to the Alvarez-Galloso News Hour.
How did you get started in professional football?
Destination starts with the following first step. The totality of my career has to do with my childhood. In 1964 I was a student in primary school. I was fond of football to the point that I avoid my school and therefore I couldn’t pass. Unfortunately I was required to repeat the fourth class twice “two years”. I can add that after arriving from school, I spent the rest of my daytime in front of our house with my neighbors in playing football together until darkness fell. When I slept at night, I dreamt of playing in the Iraqi national team and how I was dribbling and marking goals! This was the dream of a Kurdish child who never understood that neither he nor any Kurdish person could represent the national team if they did not sign to be a member of the Baath party.
My activity as a football player extends between “1964 – 1974”. I represented Kofry primary school followed by Kofry secondary school and the SADA quarters youth team. On the 6th march 1974 I participated in the Kurdish revolution against Saddam Husain’s regime. I had to sacrifice my career as a football player behind me that it was the most painful separation
In 1981, I started with a group of friends the first army’s agriculture section football club in “Swehan-U.A.E” their where I worked as a supervisor. In July 1983, I left U.A.E. and moved to Sweden. Now I was for old to play more and in spite of that I participated in a Kurdish team in “Malmö” where we played just for fun and lives quality.
In 1998, I registered my son Dilan who was 6 years old in “Håkanstorps football club”. Here the role has been changed with Dilan training twice a week. I was at hand to help him but after two weeks, I proposed to the club administration to have their agreement to respond of those children coaching and lead them. They agreed and I coached the team for exactly 5 years. We had many glorious football memories together and then I was able to coach the clubs youth group. After a year I changed the club and coached Liria IF-s senior team for a year. Afterwards, I moved to London in the United Kingdom. It was in London, that I agreed with Kurd Stars FC team to lead them and together we worked to raise the first Kurdish club with intention to collect all Kurdish power under the same club and to be a link between our Kurdistan’s and European clubs. We are working side by side with the same intention for which we are sure that it will be a reality and it will gave a good result.
During my ten years as a coach I progressed and participated in more than ten courses in Sweden and United Kingdom according UEFA courses. I studied three sport courses in Malmö University. In May 2005, I taught two groups of coaches in Kurdistan.
Certainly all what I have done since 1964 until the present had to do with football. Therefore I can say that what has changed wasn’t more than the role, which has changed is the role from a player to a coach. Regardless, the dream is still the same; yet the role is another.
2. When did the concept of a football team for Kurdistan get started [in the form of football associations and football clubs]?
After the first Gulf War of 1991, the situation in Iraq changed. The Hussein Regimes total domination of Iraq began to fade away because his brutality against Kurdish people in Kurdistan “north of Iraq” and Shite Muslims in south. The Iraqi no-fly zones were proclaimed by the United States, United Kingdom and France after the Gulf War of 1991 to protect humanitarian operations in northern Iraq and the year after in southern.
The Iraqi government withdrew its military and other personnel from the region in October 1991. At the same time, Iraq imposed an economic blockade over Kurdistan, reducing its oil and food supplies. The totality of these occurrences have created the occasion for Kurdish parties”KDP and PUK” to form Kurdish government and parliament. Now the establishment of peace and freedom were a fact in Kurdistan. The Climate for activity was started. Football was one of the popular sports in Kurdistan like in all Iraq. 1992 was the year of the formation of teams in Kurdistan and an intern league matches started between the formed teams. Unfortunately the two main parties”KDP and PUK” couldn’t unite and each one of them has formed own football association. Despite this, I can say that the period between 1991-2004 was a good occasion for those associations to learn from their mistakes, proofs and their opportunity in how to organize themselves to build football teams and start coaching courses etc.
The years after Saddam Hussein’s fall on 9 April 2003 “which has given the name of the second Gulf War 2003”, bring about distinct changes. Paul Bremer appointed the chief executive authority in the country as U.S. by President Bush. Kurdistan Regional Government became a fact. Our parties”KDP and PUK” came agree to lead the Kurdish people from Hawler the capital of Kurdistan and our football associations began to work under the name of Kurdistan Olympic Committee. Now the necessity was to be a part of Iraq in order to participate in the Iraqi league, be a part of Iraqi Football Association and participate in the Asian cup which happened to the Hawler team 2007/2008. And now the Kurdish Hawler team prepares to act the first play in the name of Iraqis head team and represent all Iraq.
3. You have written two poems. One of the titles is Chilei and another is Geran. What is the significance of Chilei and Geran?
The revolt of Kurds against Iraq’s regime which had started in September 1961 has reflected in our daily activity, from the smallest discomfort to pride. It was necessity that literature takes steps and reflects the events. During that time there lived two of today’s known poets “Latif Halmat and Ferhad Shakaly” in my town Kifri. 1967-1969 on their hand had modernized the Kurdish poems. We knew each other. When they knew that I was interested in poetry and I had tried writing some poems, we became very close friends. The group affect was as a stream which gave me a successfully push. In 1970 I published my first poem in Hawcary newspaper and 1987 I published my first collection of poetry in Sweden, under the name of” Searching for Bahgat Hikmat” who was a famous fighter and very ideal rebel who was wounded in an internal war between our two Kurdish parties”KDP and PUK” . He was captured and murdered then on the 10th of March 1974.
On the samples in which a Swedish library had bought from me, the following comment was published (This collection of poems has been written between 1970-1985. The form of poems belongs to the new rhythmical style that differs from the classical oriental poems. Language is easy-to-read and often with nice poetical expression. The central theme in this book is partly the Kurds liberation fight, and partly the bitter internal conflicts and fighting in the Kurdistan. This goes for both the poetry that been written in Kurdistan on 70-th and the other nostalgic poetry during immigration periods on 80-th. The title of the book has been selected in order to remind a Kurdish rebel’s destiny, who is Bahgat Hikmat. A hero in the author’s eyes that goes to struggle in order to extricate her country, but fates irony lead to that he after many years’ brave struggle against her country’s enemies finally fell for a bullet in Kurdistan’s tragic internal struggle.
I published my second collection poetry in 2001 in Sweden and 2002 in Kurdistan, under the name of “The 40-th day ceremony of the revolution and the revival of the principalities”. It is difficult to describe all what was written in this collection but I think that the title described it.
Although, the most of poems, focuses on my strong affection for my lost homeland and the wishes to continue the revolt until we will get our rights. Yes, two general topics: politics and love dominated both collections. The political poems stand out for their powerful polemics and brutally defiant tone, against the Fascist claims on Kurdistan. The love poems foreshadow the eventual transformation of the beloved female into the beloved homeland which is characteristic of “Palestinian poet Mahmud Darwish’s” subsequent poetry, whose poetry were for me like my water and bread. Generally I like to write easy and to use simple vocabulary, plain and creating fascinating new images and the music in language. What more I can say is that I write less. The style and topic in my poems are very carefully chosen
4. Are there or will there be an English Translation of Chilei and Geran?
No. I don’t know if it will be [translated] or not because we do not have translators or authors that specialize in the translation of Kurdish Literature. Each of Kurdish authors translates for their own work or they have friends [who are multilingual] and can translate. My English is not so good and my current friends are football players and they haven´t any idea about literature. I have a paragraph from a long poem which is translated some years ago by my friend Ferhad Shakely.
5. What difficulty have the Kurdish Football Players [amateur and professional] encountered in being able to play football in a league or team? How have the Kurdish Players been able to cope with obstacles placed in their paths? While I would have preferred to separate sports from politics, I was thinking in terms of countries that have not wanted to recognize the significance of Kurdish Football.
The Baath Party that eventually came to power in 1963 has followed a no investment policy in Kurdistan. This policy has executed very negative effects on all lives branches in the Kurdish area, and the sport has got his part of neglect.
We hadn’t more than a pitch and that it was just in the big towns and unfortunately it belongs to their teams. In order to be a tolerable citizen in Iraq or to be treated similar like the party members, and have access to train on the pitch; people were forced to devote time to the Baath party and contributes with espionage on their people. So we lost any rights to similar handling to them. They tried all ways to despoil us from any branch for their best.
Such handling leads our young Kurdish people to confront the Baath’s Fascist ideology. The majority of them preferred to leave there activity in spite of to degrade them self in her peoples’ eyes. It was important for them to don’t serve the Baath Fascist party’s interesting in Kurdistan. Because that our young either amateur neither professional couldn’t go farther away with their sport activity. The most activity include in the local teams and playing or on the streets or outside of the town on none common football plane! The Kurds had no option but to revolt and choose to be Kurdish fighter “Peshmerga”.
6. What progress has Kurdish Football achieved after Kurd Stars FC, the Kurdistan FA, and the Olympic Committee of Kurdistan?
I would exaggerate if I consider that the Kurd Stars FC add something to Kurdish football inside Kurdistan. But we can be proud of Kurd Stars FC success as a team outside of Kurdistan. Kurd Stars FC succeeded in trying to identify Kurd desire through their presence and performance.
The attractive thing with Kurd Stars is that through its successes within a short time has helped the optimism on our youth who live in Great Britain and it has contributed to found two other Kurdish teams in London and not least than two others in other cities in Great Britain. We work like to combine with FA in the near future to help Kurdish football.
The Kurdistan FA, through its activity has inspirited our young people to start teams and register them in the FA league. Kurdistan FA’s clear ambition is to offer and distribute footballs and team wears to each new teams. I also appreciate their intention to raise fields even in small towns.
Unfortunately, our Olympic Committee is the worst administered because of the political fight between its employers. They are not insomuch as contribute with something positively to Kurdish sports!
7. What is needed for a football team to advance in terms of play and facing opponents during a game?
Ambition, an excellent motivation with a good discipline, and a serious organisation are needed during a game to advance opponents.
To complete the processes as mentioned above; there is a need to implement in advanced in player’s heart two important factors, which are psychological and physical.
8. When the time comes for a Kurdish Nation [again, excuse the politics], will Kurdistan apply to join FIFA?
We will join FIFA when the time politically is right, I mean when Kurdistan is internationally recognized, but meanwhile we work together with Iraqis till Kurdish dreams comes true , as we are working on.
We are already part of Iraqi’s FA, as Kurdish clubs as well, for example Hawler FC, which is a Kurdish club, is the Iraqi champion for year 07/08, and they are going to represent Iraq in Asian Champion League.
9. Has FIFA recognized Kurdish Football as a separate entity or has FIFA been indifferent?
As you know FIFA is dealing with just recognized countries, and as I mentioned in answer of question 8, we are a nation without a recognized estate, so that is why we are part of Iraqi’s FA.
10. What advice would you give to those who want to play football as a career?
As I mentioned in my answer in question 7 about advance in terms of play and facing opponents, there were some advices and I want to add a couple more like; continually focus on training, technical skills and physically ability.
Thank You Kinan Kadir for this interview and thank you Kurd Stars FC.