Sneijder inspires Al Gharafa youngsters


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Wesley Sneijder seems to be living up to his reputation and adding strength to the Al Gharafa ranks as was evident from his performance during their 4-2 victory over Umm Salal in Week 13 of the QNB Stars League on Saturday.

The Dutch star played an inspirational game as The Cheetahs registered a back-to-back victory, having defeated Al Ahli 2-1 after coming from behind in the previous round, their first in this season’s tournament. Sneijder did not have a great start on his debut against Al Ahli as he was only settling into his stride after signing for Al Gharafa in what proved to be the high-profile recruitment in the QNB Stars League 2017-18 season’s winter transfer window.

The attacking midfielder is wearing the No.10 jersey, once famously donned by ace Brazilian Juninho at Al Gharafa. Sneijder was a strong presence in the  Al Gharafa midfield and radiated a positive energy on the pitch, especially for team-mates.

He found their third goal in the 61st minute, the other scorers being Ahmed Alaaeldin (32nd), Othman Al Yahiri (45th) and Amro Seraj (90+4). 

It was also Al Gharafa’s fourth win of the season and they stayed sixth with 17 points, just two behind Umm Salal.

It may be noted that only a victory separates Al Gharafa from fourth-placed Al Sailiya. More importantly, they have made a confident start to the second half of the season and can easily aim to finish among the top four.

In the process, they also sent a strong message to the rivals that they are now a force to be reckoned with.

Sneijder is a player with vast experience. He is a FIFA World Cup runner-up with the Netherlands in 2010 and UEFA Champions League winner with Inter Milan the same year. He also had meritorious stints with native side Ajax Amsterdam, Spanish giants Real Madrid and Turkish powerhouse Galatasaray.

Al Gharafa have a lot of talented young players, such as Othman Al Yahri,  Monkez Mohammed, Ahmed Alaaeldin, Abdelghani Mounir, Amro Seraj and Muad Hassan, and they all will stand to benefit from Sneijder’s experience and expertise.