Al Rayyan midfielder Abdulaziz Hatem in an exclusive interview with qsl.qa ahead of their 2020 Qatar Cup semifinal against Al Sadd


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Abdulaziz Hatem has been a prominent player in Qatar football for many years now, be it for the clubs that he represented or for the various national teams. He was an important part of the famous Asian Cup-winning squad in early 2019.

In an exclusive interview with qsl.qa, Abdulaziz, who switched to Al Rayyan from Al Gharafa at the start of 2019-20 season, gives his takes on various topics.

What’s so special about the Qatar Cup?

Of course, it’s one of the big competitions in Qatar, along with the Amir Cup and QNB Stars League. It’s important for the competing teams. All teams would wish to lift the coveted cup.

How do you look forward to your Qatar Cup match against Al Sadd?

It’s between two big teams. We’re keen to win this match. So will Al Sadd be. We’ll fight for victory.

How motivated are you ahead of the clash with Al Sadd?

We’re highly motivated ahead of this tournament. We’ve almost a new team this season and we’re preparing for the future. Our results in the QNB Stars League have been encouraging and we’ve results to back up our claim.

What’re Al Rayyan’s chances in the match against Al Sadd?

We’ve bright chances to win against Al Sadd, notwithstanding the fact that it’ll be a difficult and close game. We’re working hard and are second in the league standings. We already beat Al Sadd in the Qatar Clasico this season. Then, why not we win?

How have Al Rayyan’s preparations been for this game?

We don’t have special preparations for this game. But we’re focusing more on how to approach a knockout game. It’s different from a league game. We’re not under big pressure and we’ve confidence in ourselves.

What’ll be the game-changing factor in this match?

As far we’re concerned, playing a disciplined game will be the key to success. We must make less mistakes. I believe, if we score first, we’ll have a big advantage. Things will be a bit easier for us.

What do you say about the presence of star players in both teams?

Both teams have big names, but I must admit that Al Sadd have more of them in their ranks. They’ve Asia’s best player Akram Afif, Baghdad Bounedjah, Gabi (Fernandez), Hassan Al Haydous, Nam Tae-Hee… We too don’t lag behind. We’ve Yacine Brahimi, currently the best player in the QNB Stars League, Rodrigo Tabata, Franck Kom, Sebastian Soria, Gabriel Mercado…

What role will fans play in the Qatar Cup?

They’ve a big role to play. They’re a big source of strength for us. If they fill in the stadium, it’ll be an extra motivation for us. It’ll be something like having 12 players in our team! We’re counting very much on their support.

How do you rate Al Rayyan’s performance so far this season?
The team has been doing well since the start of this season. The second place in the league is enough proof for that. Everybody, right from the team management, technical staff, players… are working hard with the aim of producing excellent results and to make our fans happy.

How do you find your game after joining Al Rayyan from Al Gharafa this season?
I feel it has been a perfect decision to join Al Rayyan. This is a team with big targets, fighting for all trophies. We’ve the players and resources. Naturally, it reflects on my game.