Al Rayyan playmaker Rodrigo Tabata in an Exclusive Interview with QSL Online
Rodrigo Tabata has been the livewire in the Al Rayyan ranks. Not only he orchestrates their attacks, but also finds himself among goals. He was their second-best scorer, after Abderrazaq Hamdallah (18 goals), and fifth-best scorer in last season’s QNB Stars League with 15 goals.
Such is his commitment that Danish great Michael Laudrup, who coached Al Rayyan before Argentinian Rodolfo Arruabarrena took over at the start of this season, said Tabata was always the first player to reach training sessions and the last to leave. That dedication reflects on the playmaker-cum-attacking midfielder’s performance.
Ahead of Al Rayyan’s QNB Stars League Week 3 encounter against Al Duhail on 19th August, Tabata spoke to QSL Online in an exclusive interview.
How do you find the 2018-19 QNB Stars League season?
The tournament has had a good start. I feel Al Duhail, Al Sadd and Al Rayyan will again be strong title contenders. The title race will boil down to these three teams.
How has Al Rayyan’s season been so far?
We had a great start winning the Sheikh Jassim Cup and the first match in the QNB Stars League against Al Ahli. However, we dropped points against Umm Salal, which we should avoid going forward.
What difference do you see in this season’s Al Rayyan squad?
We lost the services of two key players initially, with Hamdallah still nursing an injury and Mohsine Moutaoli moving to Al Ahli. However, we’ve many new players and they must step in and grab the opportunities.
I hope new recruit, Argentinian striker Jonathan Menendez will be able to play sooner after completing his paper work.
How has the quality of football been as the QNB Stars League enters its third week?
It’s too early to speak about the quality of football and many teams have made changes. Yet, the tournament has become more competitive and we have already seen a few strong performances. It can only get better.
How do you see your game against Al Duhail?
It’s going to be a great game. We are working hard for it. It’s also going to be a big treat for the fans.
What makes the Al Rayyan vs Al Duhail match special?
Obviously, the stakes are high when the league’s top two teams face off. All our players are ready. We must put up our best performance. You must always be game for these big matches.
What’re Al Rayyan’s chances of winning the match?
There isn’t much difference between Al Duhail and Al Rayyan. If we play to our full potential, we can win this game. I’m sure our new coach Rodolfo has many aces up his sleeve.
Who’re the Al Duhail players you respect the most?
Al Duhail as such are a good team. They also have players of great calibre. Yousef El Arabi and Nam Tae-Hee are the players to watch. They are just outstanding.
What’s your target in this season’s QNB Stars League?
I always put the team’s interest first. We hope to become champions. Personally, I would like to score more goals this time.
What’s your message to Al Rayyan’s diehard fans?
Fans have always been our strength. I want them to come to the stadium and support us, as they always do. We all are keen to make them happy.