Ali Mabkhout puts teams accomplishment ahead of personal accolades.
The 2018/19 season saw Ali Mabkhout equal an eight-year UAE league goalscoring record but the prolific Al Jazira striker insists he is more concerned about team success than personal accolades.
With the league campaign now complete, Mabkhout is reflecting back on another productive season with his 20 goals helping The Pride of Abu Dhabi finish fifth in this season’s Arabian Gulf League.
Although the club fell short of their quest for trophies, there was personal accomplishment for Mabkhout in April. His brace in the emphatic 5-1 victory over Al Ain saw him become the joint-second highest goal-scorer in UAE league history with 132 strikes in 188 games, going level with former UAE striker Mohammad Omar, whose record had stood since 2011.
That record was broken by Al Wahda’s Sebastian Tagliabue last month but Mabkhout sent out another reminder of why he’s one of the most prolific strikers in Asia and the world in the last decade when he took his tally to 133 strikes against Al Nasr in the final match of the season.
Having opened his account against Al Dhafra as a promising 18-year-old, Mabkhout’s incredible strike rate means it should only be a matter of time before the Al Jazira academy graduate overtakes Fahad Khamis’ feat of 165 goals.
If and when he does become the top goal-scorer, Mabkhout says it would be a proud moment for him and Al Jazira but insists his priority will always be to help fire his club to glory.
“As a striker, I am happy about this goalscoring achievement,” said Mabkhout, who holds the record for most number of goals (33) in an AGL campaign during Al Jazira’s title-winning 2016-17 season and has broken all of his clubs scoring records.
“But these kind of accomplishments are just secondary to me in football. My intention is always to help Al Jazira as much as I can. If I can break the record then of course I will be very happy.
“But I will not put extra pressure on myself to break it. I will definitely go for the record but that is not the only thing that I want to focus on as I want to help Al Jazira be successful.
“The club has helped me a lot in my development so I will do my best to keep on thriving and give back in return.” Their fifth-place finish in the AGL means the club will focus on the three domestic competitions when the 2019-20 campaign begins. Mabkhout has been impressed with how his team performed in the last 10 months and believes whether there are reinforcements or not this summer, their squad is definitely strong enough to mount a serious challenge in all competitions.
“We have played very well this season and that is down to Damien’s (head coach) philosophy of playing excellent football that has delivered positive results, the support of the management and the fans,” added Mabkhout, who has won two AGL titles, three President’s Cups and Arabian Gulf Cup at the club.
“Al Jazira always want to be competitive and I think we can definitely compete for the title next season. We have a solid squad who are made up of quality international and experienced players. There are also a good crop of talented youngsters coming through who all have the potential to succeed.”
Al Jazira Club has a rich and successful history, winning the Federation Cup in 2006, The Gulf Clubs Championship in 2007, as well as the Etisalat Cup in 2009-2010.
Al Jazira also clinched the Arabian Gulf League in 2011 and repeated the feat in 2017. Their three President’s Cup successes were achieved in 2011, 2012 and 2016, while they also finished fourth in the 2017 FIFA Club World Cup.
Islamic Republic of Iran’s Zobahan kept their place at the top of the 2019 AFC Champions League Group A with a comfortable 2-0 victory over UAE’s Al Wasl at Foolad Shahr on Tuesday.
Yaqoub Al Bloushi scored in both nets as Ittihad Kalba drew 1-1 with leaders Sharjah at Kalba Union Sports and Cultural Stadium in matchweek 22 of the Arabian Gulf League on Friday.
Chelsea fear it may be a parting gift, but should Wednesday’s Europa League final be Eden Hazard’s last game for the club, the Belgian is determined to go out on a high.
FIFA shelved a proposed expansion of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to 48 teams on Wednesday, dealing a blow to the world football body’s president Gianni Infantino. Infantino had proposed expanding the tournament and explored the idea of adding additional host nations.
The Indian Cricket board (BCCI) on Tuesday announced a Rs 5 crore (Rs 50 million) bonus for the Indian team following their three-wicket win over Australia in the fourth Test at the Gabba that helped them seal the Border-Gavaskar series 2-1.
Pep Guardiola hailed the transformative impact of Ruben Dias after the Portugal centre-back helped turn Manchester City into the meanest defence in the Premier League. Dias arrived from Benfica in a 68 million euro (£62 million, $79 million)
Two Australian Open tennis players have tested positive for the coronavirus, health officials said on Tuesday, in a new blow for the tournament which is facing a backlash from a wary public. The unnamed players were among three new cases
Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored twice on his first start in two months as AC Milan beat Cagliari 2-0 on Monday to pull ahead of city rivals Inter on top of the Serie A table. Ibrahimovic, 39, got the first from the penalty spot after seven minutes, adding a second