Qatar’s Almoez Ali has been the toast of the 2019 Asian Cup as the 22-year-old helped his side clinch their first ever continental title. Ali was named the Most Valuable Player and also won the Golden Boot as he scored a record nine goals in the competition, thus breaking the legendary Ali Daei’s record of eight in the 1996 Asian Cup.
Younis Mahmoud, who led Iraq to a historic Asian Cup victory in 2007 and also won the Most Valuable Player and the Golden Boot awards, stated that he isn’t surprised with the performance of Almoez Ali who he had expected to shine on the continental stage.
“I think Almoez is a very good player and we have seen him play in the Qatar Stars League (QSL). He is a very different player. I knew he would score many goals. For Almoez also, it is great as he has been able to show his quality in the Asian Cup,” Mahmoud told Goal.
Qatar are the first team from the Arabic region to won the Asian Cup since Iraq’s triumph in 2007. Mahmoud pointed that the Maroons were impressive in attack where they scored 19 goals in seven matches apart from merely conceding once in over 630 minutes.
“This group of Qatari players are very good. In Akram Afif and Hassan Al-Haydous, they have great quality. These players help each other in attack which is very important. It is good for the Gulf nations as Qatar has done so well,” he exclaimed.
Qatar would not just enter the World Cup 2022 as mere hosts as they have now made the world take notice of their footballing capabilities. They have certainly shown that they can compete with some of the best footballing nations after their triumphs over traditional powerhouses such as Japan, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Iraq.
“I have played in Qatar for over 10 years. So I know how good these players are. In Qatar, the focus is also on developing the youth. They are sent to several foreign leagues at a young age and so when they come back to Qatar, they become very good. In 2022, Qatar have a good chance to do well in the World Cup because this team has got the quality,” signed off the former Iraq skipper.