Al Gharafa’s Algerian midfielder Sofiane Hanni in an exclusive interview with qsl.qa


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Sofiane Hanni is a strong presence in the Al Gharafa midfield ever since he joined The Cheetahs at the start of this season from Russian club Spartak Moscow.

Ahead of Al Gharafa’s 2019-20 QNB Stars League Week 7 match against Al Arabi on Sunday, 20th October, Sofiane spoke to qsl.qa in an exclusive interview.

How do you prepare for your match against Al Arabi?

We’re preparing normally, as we do for all games. We’ll try to win and we had utilised the international break to prepare for this match.

Your expectations of this game and the result?

I’m not used to express my expectations, but I hope we can achieve our target (three points). For that, we’ll give everything we can on the pitch.

Are Al Gharafa able to be back on the winning path after a defeat and draw in the last two games?

It’s true that in the last two games, we weren’t at the same level as we were at the start of this season. We could’ve done better. We must build on our positives in the game against Al Arabi. We’re able to be back on the winning path.

Do you think dropping points in the previous two games will’ve a negative impact on your match against Al Arabi?

I don’t think so. It’s true that we weren’t satisfied with those results, but now we put them behind us and we’ve to avoid the mistakes we made in the last two games. We must maintain the positive spirit and focus on the game without thinking about the lost points.

Al Arabi haven’t lost a match in the league so far…

Surely, the match won’t be easy. We’ll face a team that hasn’t lost yet and are in a higher position. They’ve been doing well since the beginning of this season and offer a good level, but we’ll do everything we can to achieve victory.

What’s your assessment of Al Gharafa’s performance in the league so far?

We made a good start this season and we could’ve been in a better position in the table, We weren’t satisfied with our last two games, but overall in six games I think the result is positive. We’ve to avoid repeating mistakes and be strong on the pitch.

How do you see the competition in QNB Stars League?

Before I joined Al Gharafa, I was told that the competition was mainly between two teams. But now, I realise that there’re many strong contenders. All teams are working hard and I see that the competition is even. The team that puts up consistent performance and makes less mistakes have more chances to win the title.

What’re your targets and ambitions?

Our goal is to put up a better performance than we did in the past years. We had strengthened the squad with players who want to compete hard and achieve positive results. It isn’t easy to win the title, but we’ll work to reach the highest position possible.

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How able are Al Gharafa to achieve the targets?

The coming days will answer this question. Of course, we’ll evaluate the situation after the first leg of the league to know where we stand and what we should do next.

Are you worried that the team will fail to fulfil its ambitions?

I’m not worried about that. We’ve a group that’s able to help the team reach its goals. By working together and playing with a winning mentality, we can achieve what we’re seeking.

Which player has attracted your attention in Al Gharafa so far?

There’re many such players in Al Gharafa. Ahmed Alaaeldin, for example, is a player who is having a wonderful season.

Which team will win the league title in your opinion?

As I said, contrary to the belief, there’re many strong contenders. It’s true that Al Duhail and Al Sadd are the strongest contenders, but when you see the performance of Al Arabi, Al Rayyan, Al Gharafa and Al Ahli, who all have strong players, you tend to believe that the competition is between five or six teams.

What do you say to Al Gharafa fans?

I thank them for their support during the matches. We’ll always try to make them happy. I urge them to come in large numbers to our next match. We’re facing a strong team, which has good support from their fans. I’m sure our fans will rise to the occasion.