Al Ahli’s Moroccan forward Nabil El Zhar in an exclusive interview with qsl.qa


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Nabil El Zhar is leading from the front of a resurgent Al Ahli side in the 2019-20 season QNB Stars League. The Moroccan forward, who captains The Brigadiers, is holding their attacks together.

Al Ahli, who are currently sixth with nine points in the QNB Stars League which has taken an international break due to FIFA Days, defeated Qatar SC 2-0 in Week 6 to register their third victory.

Nabil, who joined Al Ahli at the start of this season, speaks to qsl.qa in an exclusive interview.

How do you find your game in Qatar?

I feel very well. It’s positive football. The facilities are outstanding. They weren’t what I was expecting.

This is your first stint in the Gulf. How is the level of competition in the QNB Stars League?

I was surprised by the high level of the game in the QNB Stars League. They say it’s harder this season than last year. I’m pleased that it’s more competitive. Any team can beat any team. It’s good for Qatar football and also for players.

What’s it like representing Al Ahli, the first club in Qatar?

I’m happy to be a part of the Al Ahli family. They received me well. I hope we’ll have a great season. All people around are very enthusiastic.

Al Ahli started off with a defeat, but made a strong comeback with two victories. But then, the team suffered two defeats in a row…

Ups and downs are part of football. My view is that you don’t always go by results. We would rather forget our first match against Al Arabi. We barely settled into our stride. Against Al Gharafa and Al Rayyan, we put up a good display but for some mistakes that proved costly.

Did the victory over Qatar SC last week help the side get back on track?

Well, we were always in the championship. Winning gives you more confidence. I specially liked the character we displayed on the field. We can improve if we maintain the momentum.

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What’re the positives about Al Ahli this season?

We’ve good local players and youngsters. Also, good professional players. We’re like a family and it’s a balanced squad. Then, we’ve a great coach in Ruben da la Barrera.. It isn’t about certain players and certain positions. I would rather say striker is the first defender and defender is the first striker. Everyone has to play his role perfectly.

How do you look forward to the season?

We want to finish as high as possible. Personally, I want to complement the good work being done by everyone associated with the club. There was a time when I was a junior player and my seniors helped me. Now that I’m a senior, I want a role reversal.

Who’re the favourites to win the league title this season?

Al Ahli. Why not? You must aim high in football. Anything is possible. We’ll try to win as many games as possible. I don’t want to pick a favourite team.

What were the best moments in your career so far?

Getting selected to Liverpool’s senior team in 2006 was an unforgettable moment in my club career. When it comes to representing Morocco, being named in the FIFA Best Squad of World Youth Championship in the Netherlands in 2005 alongside the likes of Lionel Messi is still a vivid memory. We lost to Nigeria in the semifinal and Argentina won the tournament.