Connect with us

Analysis

Al Jazira star man Khaseif thanks Almunia for guidance

UAE goalkeeper and captain was named Man of the Match in Club World Cup win over Auckland City

In modern football, the goalkeeper plays a fundamental role, one that extends well beyond his penalty area. Al Jazira custodian and captain Ali Khaseif proved this at Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium on Wednesday by leading by example during the Emirati champions’ victory over Auckland City in the opening match of the FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2017.

Although Brazilian forward Romarinho powered home the only goal of the game in impressive fashion, it was Khaseif who attracted most of the post-match plaudits, making seven fine saves as his side avoided elimination. Furthermore, a vocal Khaseif was also constantly doling out defensive pointers to his team-mates.

Khaseif is accustomed to taking part in important encounters, having competed in several World Cup qualifiers with United Arab Emirates. In addition, the Abu Dhabi native starred in two matches at the 2012 Men’s Olympic Football.

ADVERTISEMENT

Ali Khaseif, Al Jazira’s captain and goalkeeper, receives the FIFA award for Player of the Match

Mutual acclaim

After celebrating in the changing rooms, the man named Player of the Match explained to FIFA.com how he stopped goal-bound efforts from Auckland’s Cameron Howieson and Ryan De Vries in the second period.

“I managed that with the help of god and our goalkeeper coach, Manuel Almunia,” said Khaseif. “He gives me so much encouragement at training. And my team-mates’ performances are also a source of motivation.”

ALSO READ:  How Pep Guardiola is proving his critics wrong – and changing the Premier League landscape

Former Arsenal No1 Almunia was extremely satisfied with his protégé’s display: “Ali was exceptional and showed remarkable confidence. He played really well. This competition is the perfect fit for him, because he’s a top ’keeper, as he proved today.”

Did you know?

· Khaseif began as a defender aged 11 at second division club Al Fujairah
· Signed for Al Jazira in 2005 becoming first-choice goalkeeper in 2010/11
· Before each match, Khaseif prays inside his goal

Drawing on past experiences

As well as Almunia’s positive influence, Khaseif can also draw on the experience he has built up representing UAE in major international fixtures. That acumen has given him the necessary maturity to instil confidence in his team-mates.

“I tried to pass on my experience to the younger players during the match, as a lot of them are performing at this level for the first time,” said the 30-year-old shot-stopper.

After defeating Auckland City, Khaseif’s skills will next be put to the test against the Asian champions, Urawa Red Diamonds, at Zayed Sports City Stadium on Saturday.

“There are no minnows in this tournament, and we saw what Urawa are capable of in the Asian Champions League,” said Khaseif. “Now that we’ve conquered our fears, we must represent Emirati football with honour.”

Advertisement

Most Popular

Advertisement

THERE'S MORE!
LATEST NEWS

From Dubai to Rio: A Football Dream [Video]

Amir Reza left his family home in the UAE for a shot at football...

FourFourTwo’s 100 Best Football Players in the World 2017: No.23, Toni Kroos

"Why put another layer of gold paint on the Bentley when you are losing...

FourFourTwo’s 100 Best Football Players in the World 2017: No.24, Sergio Busquets

Sure, he's not the world's most loved player – but there should be no...

READ THIS NOW

[Video] Benevento goalkeeper scores astonishing last-gasp equaliser

Alberto Brignoli's header against AC Milan earns his club a first ever Serie A...

Ranked! The 10 best Premier League teams EVER

This season's Manchester City are already being talked up as long-term legends, but how...

History predicted Bauza’s appointment….and swift dismissal

Recent managerial upheavals surrounding Saudi national team are nothing new, says Ali Khaled

Ranked! The 25 best Champions League games… EVER

It’s 25 years since Europe’s holy grail got a total revamp – so FFT...

AND THIS

Most Popular

Advertisement