Ali Abbas is taking steps to become an Australian citizen and couldn't be happier.
After a turbulent upbringing in Iraq, Newcastle Jets' Ali Abbas has found solace in Australia and has recently received dispensation from the FFA to no longer be classified as a visa player.
The 25-year old Iraq international and Jets forward, who has made a life for himself in Newcastle, is celebrating the news.
“I can-t express how happy and proud I am of myself in taking these steps and to become an Australian citizen,” Abbas said.
“I would like to thank all the staff of the Jets, the Members and supporters and everyone who has helped me along the way.
“I am so happy to be here and represent the Newcastle Jets.”
Abbas has had to work very hard to make a career for himself in football since arriving in Australia.
“When I first came here I didn-t think I would make it,” he explained.
“I worked really hard at the game and it has paid off.
“Look at me now, I am playing for one of the biggest teams in Australia.”
With Gary van Egmond now steering the Jets, Abbas couldn-t be happier.
“Gary has a really good attitude towards us players,” Abbas said.
“We are all really glad to have him here as our coach.
“He has brought new systems with him and hopefully we can continue to get results.”
With Abbas no longer a visa player, the Jets have signed former captain Michael Bridges for the rest of the season.
“I am glad this frees the club up to sign players like Michael who will help us become a better team,” Abbas explained.
Click here to read more about Abbas- life in Iraq from Saturday's story in the Daily Telegraph.