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The Lebanon international told Goal.com he is proud to win the readers' award and still believes the Cedars can qualify for Brazil 2014, despite their slow start to qualifying

EXCLUSIVE
By Simon Greige & Ben Somerford

Youssef Mohamad says he's delighted to lift the name of Lebanese football after being voted the Goal.com readers' Asian Player of the Month for June.

The Cedars central defender won the vote ahead of Oman goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi and Sriwijaya winger Mohammad Ridwan, earning approximately 26 per cent of the votes.

"Some friends told me that before your sweet call and I thank you for this," Mohamad told Goal.com.

"I really appreciate this and thank all the people who voted for me. This makes me really proud and it's a big pride for any Lebanese player to lift the name of his country high."

During June, Mohamad was Lebanon's stand-in captain in the absence of Roda Antar as the Cedars begun their final round World Cup qualifying campaign with defeats to Qatar and South Korea, while claiming a draw against Uzbekistan.

Mohamad was arguably Lebanon's best player in their difficult start to final round qualifying, with the Cedars never having gone this far in a World Cup before and the former Koln defender insisted their hopes of progressing to the finals weren't over yet.

"When we talk about hope for sure there's still hope. Lebanon played well but it wasn't lucky at all to achieve good results," Mohamad said.

"We were the better side against Qatar but unfortunately we lost the match. Against Uzbekistan and South Korea the performances were better and we got a point against Uzbekistan, but against Korea we all know that they are a very good team moreover and we played on their home turf.

"But I can say that we played well taking into consideration the absence of our captain Roda Antar and Mahmoud Ali. May be things could have been changed if they were with us.

"The hope is existing even for direct qualification not just for the third place. Iran's match in Beirut will be decisive. If we could win it, we have a strong comeback to continue in our way."

Mohamad, who turned 32 last week, also commented on his club career, stating he hopes to finish up in his homeland having plied his trade in Germany for seven years before moving to his current team in UAE, Al Ahli.

"Everyone hopes to play in his country. I like ending my career in Lebanon, but it's early to talk about this," he said. "If god gives me the power, I'm able to play three more years, after that I hope to finish my career in Lebanon."

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