The Kurdish Globe
By Zakaria Muhammed
The Technical Director of Italian footballing giants Internazionale Football Club, Marco Angelo Monti, visited the Kurdish capital city of Erbil on July 17th and met with Kurdistan Football Association (KFA) president, Safeen Kanaby.
Monti along with Kanaby visited the sections of Goal Project, a sports project which was decided to be built in 2009.
The project, which has almost been completed, includes a modern football stadium able to hold more than 30,000 spectators, another stadium for training, a physical fitness center, a modern hotel to house the teams and delegations playing matches in the city of Erbil, as well as offices for meetings and press conferences.
In addition to examining the Goal Project, the purpose of Monti's visit to Erbil was to see if the city's conditions and circumstances are appropriate for his Inter Milan club to open a football academy.
"We came here to see the sports foundations and obtain information about the condition of the city in all respects; we will see if we can open football academy here," said Monti.
Monti is optimistic about the city, its current situation and condition. He predicts that Internazionale may well decide to open a football academy in Erbil.
"We have information about many talented children and youths who play football in this region. In general, I think this area is suitable for opening an academy and training good footballers," he noted.
Monti is a former Italian footballer who played for numerous clubs, including Lazio, Atlanta, Regina, Ravenna and Lecco. He is currently working at Internazionale as a youth team coach alongside his role as a technical director. He was also featured in the television program Football's Next Star, a football reality show aimed at British and Irish youth players competing to win a contract with Internazionale.
Responding to Monti's visit, KFA President Kanaby announced that he plans to visit Milan city this week so as to sign a protocol with the Internazionale club with the aim of accelerating the establishment of a football academy.
"I expect the protocol will be signed at the Club house on July 23rd in the presence of Massimo Morati, Internazionale club Vice President," declared Kanaby.
Kanaby believes Monti's visit to Erbil will have a positive outcome and will add something to the future of Kurdistan football. He considers opening Internazionale football academy in Erbil as a vital project for promoting Kurdish football in general, training Kurdish kids and preparing them to play at the famous team in the future.
Internazionale will be the second club aiming to open academy in the region with Real Madrid already signing a contract to open four schools in Erbil, Sulaimaniya, Duhok and Kalar to train young Kurdish soccer players.
Kurdish people consider the schools as a significant opportunity to brighten the future of Kurdish football.
"In order to have strong teams, we need to have good players. I am sure football academies will make a great impact to seeing new faces appear and as result the local clubs getting stronger," said Hawre Ahmad, 33, an Erbil citizen while watching Erbil FC's training session at the Franso Hariri Stadium.
Internazionale is a professional Italian football club based in Milan, Lombardy. The club is commonly known as Inter Milan outside of Italy. They have spent their entire history in the top tier First Division (known as Serie A since 1929).
Internazionale have won 30 domestic trophies, including the league on eighteen occasions as well as the Coppa Italia seven times and the Supercoppa Italiana five times. From 2006 to 2010 the club won five successive league titles, equaling the all-time record. They have won the Champions League three times; two back-to-back in 1964 and 1965 and then another in 2010. They last completed an unprecedented Italian treble with the Coppa Italia and the Scudetto. The club has also won three UEFA Cups, two Intercontinental Cups and one FIFA Club World Cup.