- Ali Afif performed for Al Sadd at the FIFA Club World Cup Japan 2011
- Forward hopes to play an element at Qatar 2020 with Al Duhail SC
- “I’ll use all my expertise for the good of the workforce”
Al Duhail entrance man Ali Afif is all set to grace the FIFA Club World Cup for the second time in his profession. His first look in the competitors got here ten years in the past, when he performed for Al Sadd, the then Asian champions.
Afif was solely 23 when he ran out at the FIFA Club World Cup Japan 2011, having made an enormous contribution to Al Sadd’s second continental title, taking part in eight matches of their victorious AFC Champions League marketing campaign.
Though he missed Al Sadd’s first two matches in the competitors – a 2-1 win over Esperance Sportive de Tunis and a 4-0 semi-final defeat to Barcelona – he got here on for the final 18 minutes of the match for third place in opposition to host workforce Kashiwa Reysol, a sport Al Sadd gained 5-3 on penalties.
Now 33, the ahead spoke solely to FIFA.com about the significance of a contest he hopes to function in once more this 12 months.
“I didn’t play a lot [in the 2011 competition], but the Club World Cup is a very demanding tournament,” mentioned Afif. “The coach wanted to give everyone some playing time and a chance to compete at this level.”
A month after his maiden FIFA Club World Cup look, Afif left Al Sadd to hitch Lekhwiya, which has since turn out to be Al Duhail SC. It was there that he launched into a profitable new part in his profession, serving to the membership to win six Qatari league titles, the newest of which got here final season and earned them a spot at the FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2020™.
“I’m delighted to be one of the few Qatari players to play in the Club World Cup twice, which is not something many players can say,” he added, earlier than discussing Al Duhail’s bid to raised Al Sadd’s run to the semi-finals ten years in the past. “It’s always pleasing to equal records but we’ve got the ability to reach the final and go one step further than Al Sadd did in 2011. We need a bit of luck to do that. And when it comes to knockout matches you also need to use your head sometimes.”
The highway forward
The Qatari champions obtained a bye into the second spherical of Qatar 2020 when their scheduled first-spherical opponents, New Zealand aspect Auckland City, pulled out of the event resulting from the nation’s coronavirus restrictions.
That doesn’t imply to say, nevertheless, that Afif and Al Duhail may have it straightforward of their bid to go far in the competitors. Their first opponents can be reigning African champions Al Ahly, a workforce with appreciable Club World Cup expertise, having made 5 earlier appearances in the competitors.
“There’s no question that Al Ahly are one of the biggest sides in Africa. They were named the continent’s club of the 20th century,” mentioned Afif forward of the assembly with the Egyptians on Thursday 4 February at Education City Stadium.
“We’ll see what happens against the African champions but it’s 11 versus 11,” he added. “If we beat Al Ahly, we’ll then play Bayern Munich, but we have to face the African champions first. We have to prepare and focus on how to play them because they’re a great side too.”
Afif was a part of the Qatar workforce that gained the nation’s first ever AFC Asian Cup title in 2019, a event during which his youthful brother Akram performed a starring function. Afif’s purpose now could be to make use of his expertise and assist his younger Al Duhail workforce-mates make historical past at Qatar 2020.
“I give thanks to God for all the success I’ve achieved and for playing at two Club World Cups,” he mentioned, wrapping issues up. “I’d like to thank Al Sadd, Al Duhail and the Qatar Football Association for showing faith in me and my football career. I’ll use all my experience for the good of the team. It makes me really happy that the players are proud of me and proud of having me by their side at Al Duhail.”