Iraqi footballers believed hiding in Sydney,23599,22788371-2,00.html

November 20, 2007

THREE Iraqi footballers who secretly fled their team's hotel after competing on the NSW Central Coast are believed to be hiding in Sydney.

Iraqi under-23 players Ali Abbas, Ali Khadher, and Ali Mansur fled the Mantra Resort at Ettalong about 3am (AEDT) Sunday, hours before they were due to fly home.

The players are believed to have met up with Sydney-based Iraqis in an attempt to seek asylum.

"There was a large contingent of Iraqis at the game they played before they disappeared, so it may be the case that they met up with those people," an Australian football insider said.

However, he said their whereabouts had now become a matter for the Iraqi Football Association and Australian immigration authorities.