We will play to honour Qatar and Al Duhail, says Almoez
- Updated: February 2, 2021
Star striker Almoez Ali is confident of Al Duhail’s chances against Al Ahly ahead of their FIFA Club World Cup match at the Education Stadium on Thursday.
The Qatari champions received a bye into the second round their scheduled first-round opponents, New Zealand side Auckland City, pulled out of the tournament due to the nation’s coronavirus restrictions.
That does not mean to say, however, Duhail will have it easy in their bid to go far in the competition. Their first opponents will be reigning African champions Al Ahly, a team with considerable Club World Cup experience, having made five previous appearances in the competition.
But Almoez said the team was excited to play in such a high profile tournament held at home and has set his sights on a meeting with German giants Bayern Munich in the semi-finals. “The team is ready for this competition and it is the first time for the club and most of the players and certainly everyone is excited to play,” the Qatari forward said. “We will face a quality Al Ahly team, which will make us prepare in the perfect way. We will play to honour our country and Al Duhail,” he added.
The Red Knights experienced a dip in results and performance this season, prompting the club’s management to appoint Sabri Lamouchi as head coach back in October. The Frenchman has bought some consistency in the team’s results as they are second in the league behind Al Sadd.
Almoez admitted though that Duhail will have to play their best football in recent times at the Club World Cup. “Our first appearance in this championship has motivated us to give our best. We will have to prepare better than recent times, because the level of all the participating clubs will be high. We have to be at the same level as the rest of the teams. Against Al Ahly we will surprise our fans by achieving victory and reaching the semi-finals,” the 23-year-old said.
Almoez urged fans in Qatar to rally behind them. “In the previous edition Al Sadd club participated and found a big support from all the Qatari fans. Now we are participating and we hope to get the same support from Qatar football fans, because we are not just representing our team but we are representing Qatar. We are waiting for the fans’ support and their presence in the stadium will motivate us,” he noted.
Meanwhile, Duhail’s forward Ismail Mohamed described the team’s participation in the Club World Cup as a ‘big honour’. “Our participation in this championship is an honour for us and it is representing Qatar and it is one of the club’s ambitions,” he said.
“The team is going in the right direction. We have been unlucky in recent matches but that does not mean that the team will not give its best. We are coming after a short break and are refreshed, so the team is confident,” Mohamed said.