- Yaqoub Al Hosani took part in the 2010 FIFA Club World Cup with Al Wahda
- Seven years later, the Emirati star will compete in the same tournament with Al Jazira
- “Auckland are favourites on paper but we’ll give it our best shot,” he said
Last time Emirati midfielder Yaqoub Al Hosani set foot on the pitch at the FIFA Club World Cup was at the eleventh hour in 2010, being added to Al Wahda’s starting line-up to face Mexican outfit Pachuca in the match for fifth place, having missed his side’s first two matches against Hekari United and Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma.
The two teams could not be separated on the night, drawing 2-2 in normal time, but the UAE representatives eventually came unstuck in the ensuing penalty shoot-out.
In just a few days, Al Hosani will participate line up at the tournament for the second time in his career. He made the move to fellow Abu Dhabi club Al Jazira in 2013, prior to winning the UAE League last year. In doing so, he and his team-mates secured their ticket for the global club tournament, which will be hosted by the United Arab Emirates between 6 and 16 December.
No other Al Jazira player has previous experience of the Club World Cup, but Al Hosani is not slow to pass on some advice to his colleagues.
“I’ve played alongside some top performers, and I’ve built up a lot of experience,” he told FIFA.com in an exclusive interview. “And I was pretty young at the time (23). Playing with stars like Brazilian midfielder Magrao in such a competition had a real effect on me, so I hope to have a chance to take part in it again.”
Al Hosani's advice to his team-mates ahead of Wednesday’s match against Auckland City?
- Accept your responsibilities; we will be representing the entirity UAE and not just Abu Dhabi
- Remember that it’s just 11 players against 11, you shouldn’t be afraid
- Your morale should be at its highest, because we’ll be playing on home soil, in front of our fans
Al Hosani and Al Wahda were close to securing fifth place in 2010, but what are this year’s objectives? “We must go as far as possible,” he said. “We need to first focus on the match versus Auckland, and then we can think of the other matches. We have a few injuries at the moment, and I hope they’ll be back in time, because we’ll need all hands on deck.
“I don’t know much about Auckland. Our coach is going to show us a few of their matches. They’ve experienced this tournament before, and we need to be better prepared than them, since we’re at home. Auckland are favourites on paper, but with help from our supporters, we’re going to give it our best shot.”
With just a couple of days to go before the start of the competition, the Al Jazira players received a visit from former Liberia international George Weah in Abu Dhabi, as part of the UAE’s National Day celebrations.
Al Hosani, referring to the 1995 FIFA World Player of the Year’s visit, said: “He told us to not be afraid and to approach each match with determination and pride, because we’ll be representing the UAE. And that, during difficult moments, we must act like men.”