Al Duhail’s Youssef Msakni was adjudged as the Best Player of the 2017-18 season at the Qatar Football Association’s end-of-season awards ceremony at the Qatar National Convention Center yesterday.
The Tunisian beat off the challenge from teammate and South Korean playmaker Nam Tae-hee and Al Sadd’s Spanish midfield star Xavi Hernandez.
Unsurprisingly, Al Duhail’s Djamel Belmadi bagged the award for the Best Coach, while Duhail’s Almoez Ali was named as the Best Under-23 Player.
Al Duhail’s Youssef El Arabi was presented with Mansour Muftah Award for being the top-scorer at the QNB Stars League. The Moroccan striker scored 26 goals, one more than his captain Msakni.
Msakni was a key figure in Al Duhail’s triumph in the QNB Stars League with an unbeaten record. He played the captain’s role to perfection and finished as the second-best scorer in the tournament with 25 goals, one less than teammate El Arabi.
Together, they contributed 51 of Al Duhail’s tally of 86 goals, the most by any side. The nearest was Al Sadd’s 68 goals. The Tunisian attacking midfielder was named the best player in September, November, December and February and that speaks volumes for his performance.
Msakni missed Duhail’s triumphant campaign in the Qatar Cup as he was out with a cruciate ligament injury. He was operated upon in the US last week and is recuperating. The injury ruled him out of the next month’s FIFA World Cup in Russia.
Belmadi made it really big with Duhail this season by guiding them to the QNB Stars League and Qatar Cup triumphs. Belmadi held off last season’s winner Jesualdo Ferreira of Al Sadd and Michael Laudrup of Al Rayyan.
The Algerian is a shrewd tactician, who has consistently been producing excellent results at both domestic and continental levels.
Belmadi was named as the QNB Stars League’s best coach for the months of February, March and April, 2018. He has achieved a lot in Qatar football — at both club and country levels. Belmadi made it big at the regional level when he led Qatar to the Gulf Cup triumph in 2014, beating Saudi Arabia in the final.
Four of Lekhwiya’s league titles (2010-11, 2011-12, 2016-17 and 2017-18) came when Belmadi was at the helm.
Rising star Almoez Ali beat his Duhail teammate Bassam al-Rawi and Al Sadd’s Salem al-Hajri for the Under-23 award.
Almoez is one of the prominent players of Al Duhail even though he is only 21 years of age. He played an instrumental role in their two title triumphs this season.
Almoez, who was voted as the best Under-23 player last season as well, is having an outstanding season this time too. He scored crucial goals and provided many assists to El Arabi and Youssef Msakni (25).
The wily striker has a vital role in Algerian coach Djamel Belmadi’s scheme of things. He has sound technique and physical abilities, and is highly talented.
Almoez is a graduate from the Aspire Academy in 2014. He is also an important member of the Qatar Olympic as well as national team. He had emerged as the best player when Qatar finished third at the Asian U-23 Championship in China early this year.
El Arabi was delighted to win the top-scorer award. “I’m very happy that we won the QNB Stars League title with an unbeaten record. I’m also happy that I could become the top scorer for the second successive season. This would motivate me to perform well in future,” said El Arabi.
The wily forward said Duhail wants to win the Amir Cup. They will take on Al Rayyan in final tomorrow.
“We want to win all titles — the Amir Cup and AFC Champions League. The team is very strong this season as you can see from the results,” he said.
© Gulf Times Newspaper 2019