- Ali Afif participated in the 2011 Club World Cup with Al-Sadd
- He will be celebrating again with Al-Duhail SC on the occasion of Qatar 2020
- “We can get to the final,” he says
Forward Ali Afif is set to play in the FIFA Club World Cup ™ for the second time in his career. He had discovered the competition ten years ago, under the colors of Al Sadd, then Asian champion. In 2011, Afif was only 23 years old, but he had been one of the architects of the second continental coronation of Al Sadd. He had made eight appearances in the AFC Champions League before traveling to Japan to take part in the FIFA Club World Cup.
Afif had missed the first two matches, first against Esperance Sportif de Tunis, which his teammates beat 2-1, then against FC Barcelona, winner 4-0. He was lined up during the last meeting, against Kashiwa Reysol, representative of the host country. Entered in the second period, he had walked the lawn for 18 minutes.
Despite this meager playing time, the 33-year-old realizes the importance of his participation. “It’s true that I didn’t play a big role, but the Club World Cup is a very demanding competition,” he admits at the microphone of FIFA.com. “At the time, the coach wanted to share the playing time so that we all had the opportunity to develop at this level,” he explains.
A month after his participation in the FIFA Club World Cup, Afif left Al Sadd to join Lekhwiya, now Al-Duhail SC. With his new team, he launched a new career rich in success, including six championships in Qatar. His latest national title, secured last season, opened the doors to the FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2020 ™. “I am looking forward to becoming one of the few Qatari players to have played twice at the Club World Cup. It is not common,” said Afif. “It’s always nice to set records, but we can make it to the final and do better than Al Sadd in 2011”,
Ten years ago, Al Sadd had reached the last four of the competition. “But we’re going to need a little success. And then in knockout matches, you also have to be smart,” he warns.
A second chance to write history
In terms of success, the champion of Qatar has been served as he qualifies directly for the second round of the FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2020 ™ thanks to the withdrawal of Auckland City, in due to the quarantine imposed by New Zealand in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The first opponent of Afif and his team will therefore be the African champion, Al Ahly SC, with a wealth of experience in the Club World Cup, which he has already played five times. “Al Ahly is one of the biggest clubs on the African continent. He was also named the best African club of the 20th century,” said Afif about the Egyptian club, with which he had a meeting on Thursday, February 4 at the stadium of the City of Education. In case of victory, the Qataris will then face Bayern Munich in the semi-final.
Ali Afif was also part of the Qatar team which won its first Asian Cup in 2019. His younger brother, Akram, was also part of the adventure. This year, Ali Afif hopes to use this baggage to make history again at Qatar 2020. “All of these successes allow me to participate in two editions of the Club World Cup. I will put all my experience at the service of What is beautiful is to see that the players are proud of me and my presence alongside them at Al-Duhail, “he concluded.