ALI Afif’s emergence as a key member of Lekhwiya squad should exemplify the importance coach Djamel Belmadi has given to Qatari players this season.
Almoez Ali and Asim Madibo shot into prominence, and other youngsters Abdelrhman Mohaaed and Fahd Amed played their cameo roles to perfection, yet it was their senior team-mate and winger Afif who impressed the most.
The 29-year-old Qatar international, who joined Lekhwiya from Al Sadd in 2012, described it as his best league season with the Cops as he scored eight goals and produced many assists.
“Coach Djamel (Belmadi) showed the confidence in me and many other local players, and I played in most (21) games. We had to win the league to pay it back and we did it, something we’re very happy about,” Afif told Doha Stadium Plus.
“It’s not that the foreign recruits are doing all the job, but they’re the ones who mostly make the difference at every club in Qatar. But many of them were out at different times due to injuries and national-team duties. It wasn’t easy, but our Qatari players rose to the challenge and delivered,” said Afif.
Khaled Muftah, who has been a part of Lekhwiya’s all five titles, said the strength of their squad made the triumph possible.
“The club management strengthened our squad by grooming many talented young players. It has helped us a lot in our campaign,” said Khaled.