Rani Dowisha, one of South Springvale’s Westfield FFA Cup heroes, is wanted by the Iraq national team with the keeper poised to fly to Dubai in the coming days.
The former Victory reserve keeper, who qualifies for Iraq due to his parentage, is currently waiting for paperwork to go through but is on stand-by to fly to the UAE and join up with the Iraqi national team for friendlies and a training camp.
Dowisha, 22, has been on Iraq’s radar for some time thanks to former Iraqi players in Melbourne who’ve kept the FA up to date with the shot-stopper’s burgeoning career after last year's Cup exploits with South Springvale.
Iraq weren’t happy with their goalkeeper performances at Asian Cup 2015 and it's clearly a position they want to strengthen with Dowisha seen as a potential solution.
Iraq, who were knocked out of the Asian Cup in the semi-finals, will be based in Dubai during late March and early April.
It’s understood Iraq will play three friendly games, with two of them thought to be against an African nation, possibly Congo.
Dowisha’s name came up after his State League 1 south-east club South Springvale made it all the way to the round of 16 of last year's Westfield FFA Cup. It was one of the fairytale stories of the Cup
He has since signed with Victorian PS4 NPL club Green Gully. There he is working with keeper coach ex Victory and Heart shot-stopper Sebastian Mattei.
Dowisha says he’s excited at the chance to show what he can do. And it was his Westfield FFA Cup exploits that got him noticed.
“After the Cup run was over I had a few offers from the NPL and Gully were really keen to get me on board and I’m enjoying being back in that intense environment,” Dowisha told www.thefffacup.com.au
“All the Cup stuff brought that flame back. A few ex professional players from Iraq have followed my progress and my name came up after the Asian Cup.
“A few days ago I found out I was getting called up to a national training camp. Coach Basil Gorgis has been in touch and a few contacts in Melbourne have spoken with him.
"That’s how it all came about. It’s all happened pretty quick and popped out of the blue.”
Dowisha’s parents moved from Iraq to Syria during the first Gulf War in 1992. Rani was born in Syria and two months later the family moved to Australia.
“It’s been all about getting the documents ready and get yourself ready and be on standby. Fingers crossed it all goes ahead,” added Dowisha.
“They said they weren’t happy [with their goalkeepers] after the Asian Cup. This next training camp is the one I’m looking to get into.
“Our other keeper got injured on the weekend so I don’t know how Gully will react if I go, but it’d be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”