Yaser Kasim has lavished praise on his fans after he was voted Swindon Town’s greatest player of the 21st Century in a recent poll by BenjaminWillsBlog.
“It’s a great achievement, I personally want to win football games rather than awards but I’m thankful for all the people that voted and thankful that the Swindon fans have taken me to their heart.”
The Iraq International, 23, has made a huge impact in Swindon since he arrived from Brighton and Hove Albion on a free transfer last summer.
So much so that he captained the side in a 1-1 draw against Coventry City on August 30 2014 due to regular skipper Nathan Thompson missing the game through suspension – becoming the first Iraqi to do so in English professional football.
“Yes, very much so! (This is a proud honour for me), considering I’ve only been here for a year. I’m particularly proud of the team right now also and enjoying the football a lot.”
A huge contingent of Kasim’s votes came from his native Iraq and the midfielder described his loyal fan base in glowing terms.
“They are a big part of why I want to achieve so much with the national team. Their love for their own is beautiful.”
Iraq are set to play in the Asia Cup in January 2015, something Kasim is “very much” looking forward to but his feet are firmly on the ground.
“It’s all about preparation. We still have a month and a bit to go”.
The competition may see Kasim line up against tournament hosts Australia where club team mate Massimo Luongo plays his International football.
“It would be weird to play against him but would be fun at the same time. It might be very exciting!”
Kasim’s Iraq will contest Group D with Japan, Jordan and Palestine while Luongo’s Socceroos are joined in Group A by South Korea, Oman and Kuwait.
The Asia Cup is played from the 9-31 January which means the pair will miss a maximum of four Swindon matches (Coventry away, Chesterfield home, Bradford City home and Sheffield United away).