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Nov 26 - Dec 8, 2019
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Mohanad has goals aplenty in Qatar

The 19-year-old from Iraq will add sharpness to the Al Duhail attack as they chase the Qatar Stars League crown.

He may be just 19 but Mohanad Ali displayed the composure of a seasoned campaigner as he faced the Qatari media for the first time a few days ago. Perhaps he is used to the spotlight or it may be an inborn trait, but for Al Duhail FC the Iraqi goal poacher’s presence of mind sure is a great asset in their pursuit of glory.

Al Duhail already have a potent weapon upfront – Al Moez Ali, the star of Qatar’s memorable march to the Asian Cup title back in February. With Mohanad also in their ranks, they can look towards forging an effective combination that can drill through rival defences in the coming months.

Youssef El Arabi was Duhail’s main man shouldering that job the last season. The Moroccan netted 26 goals and Duhail ended in second position behind Al Sadd in the Qatar Stars League. But Youssef’s departure to Olympiacos left a void and Duhail hope Mohanad will fill that gap quickly.

“My aim is to win trophies with Al Duhail,” said Mohanad. “I feel at home here and I have struck a good rapport with my teammates. I am hopeful of doing well on the field too.”

Mohanad, nick-named Mimi, has been in the radar of European clubs in the last couple of years. The Iraqi striker may have scored only two goals in the Asian Cup earlier this year, but his potential was very much obvious. He was linked with offers from Italian clubs like Juventus and Cagliari and also from England, with Manchester City reportedly expressing interest. But Mohanad, who was playing for Al Shorta in the Iraq league, ended all speculation by opting for Qatar and Duhail.

“Joining Al Duhail is an important step in my professional journey. It is a well-known team with good professionals and I wish to strike success here,” he said.

The Red Knights’ coach Rui Faria was a happy man looking at his forward line. “There were many clubs chasing him, but we won the race,” said Faria. “He is a talented player, but we still have a lot of work to do in the upcoming period. Hope he is a strong addition.”

The key for Duhail, clearly, will be the chemistry between Mohanad and Al Moez.

Al Moez, who netted nine goals in the Asian Cup, felt Mohanad was a special player. “He is a young player and good striker with rare skills. His presence will certainly help the club,” said Al Moez. “Any competition between us as players will be beneficial to the club.”

With the addition of Mohanad, Duhail will also hope to garner more support from the Iraqi fans based in Qatar, a wish expressed by the player himself. “I do hope the Iraqi fans in Doha come and watch our matches and support me and my team,” he said.

The big goal, though, is to score more goals and make Duhail rich in terms of trophies. “With the support of my team-mates, I hope I can score more goals and that would certainly help my team reach their target,” he said.