Kass Kawo: I have realised my Syria dream

  • Oliver Kass Kawo scored his first Syria goal against Tunisia on Friday

  • It was the perfect way to mark his 20th birthday

  • He spoke about what was a special day and his aspirations for the rest of the tournament

Syria international Oliver Kass Kawo was understandably ecstatic as he made his way through the mixed zone following his side’s 2-0 defeat of Tunisia at the FIFA Arab Cup™ on Friday.

Not content with making just his second international appearance on the day of his 20th birthday, he opened the scoring with a superb strike to set the Syrians on the way to a vital win in their second game in Group B.

After offering our birthday congratulations, we asked the blond-haired forward about his goal – his first for his country – and what it meant to him.

“It means the world to me,” he replied. “To score for my country is a moment I have dreamed of all my life. With this being my first year as a professional, I haven‘t played all that much football, so to score a goal on my birthday means a lot to me and my family.”

Born in Sweden to a Syrian father and a Swedish mother, Kass Kawo has always felt a strong attachment to Syria and has wanted to represent the Qasioun Eagles for as long as he can remember. He started playing football at the age of five for a local club near his hometown and after representing several local Swedish clubs, he signed for FC Jarfalla.

“Ever since I was young boy, I have dreamed of playing for Syria,” he remarked as he spoke about his connection to his country and his family. “Today I played my first match for my country, and on top of that I even managed to score. My thanks go to my family, who have supported me every step of the way. I wouldn’t have been able to get here today without the support they have always shown me.”

An eye to qualifying

Coming on the back of their 2-1 defeat in their opening match against the United Arab Emirates, Syria’s win over Tunisia keeps their chances of reaching the next round alive. Next up come Mauritania, who have lost both their games so far.

Discussing their final group match, the Qaisoun Eagles’ goalscoring hero said: “We must move on from the win against Tunisia. Another test awaits us in the form of Mauritania, and we need to turn our full attention towards this game. We have an excellent coach as well as an excellent squad. We must continue to prepare well and focus on this important match.”

As he went on to explain, Kass Kawo has high hopes for Syria: “As a team, we do not think too much about what will happen in the tournament as a whole but only about the next match. We will see what is possible, but for now we are taking it match by match. Every player in the team hopes to go as far as possible, so we have to keep on working hard in every game and continue to shine on the pitch.”

He added: “Our aim right now is to beat Mauritania and qualify for the second round. The most important thing for us at this moment in time is for Syria to reach the next stage. This is what we are hoping for, and after that we will see.”

AL KHOR, QATAR - DECEMBER 03: Players of Syria huddle on the pitch prior to the FIFA Arab Cup Qatar 2021 Group B match between Syria and Tunisia at Al Bayt Stadium on December 03, 2021 in Al Khor, Qatar. (Photo by Michael Regan - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

At the end of the Tunisia match, the national team players went over to the fans who had shown up in number to share the victory with them, well aware of all the suffering that the Syrian people have endured in recent years.

Wrapping up our chat, Kass Kawo said: “The fans have a special place in our hearts, and we were so happy to see them out in force supporting us. We are nothing without them, and we hope to see them at the next match and for the remainder of the tournament.”