He didn’t realise it at the time, but Ahmad Alfarsi created a little piece of history this week. No Kuwaiti had ever scored more than once in a World Cup match before Tuesday, when the 23-year-old rewrote his country’s record books in the meeting with Serbia. There was, of course, one problem: seven other goals were scored in the match – and all seven came from Serbians.
Nonetheless, it was a smiling Alfarsi who chatted to FIFA.com in the game’s immediate aftermath. And it wasn’t so much his own achievements that afforded him a glow of satisfaction as pride in his defeated team.
“To score twice at a World Cup is special of course,” he said. “Although goals never mean as much when you lose, it’s still a match I will always remember. I am more proud of my team though. The fact that we are the first Kuwait side to play at a World Cup since 1982 is a great achievement, and I know the people back home are very proud of us. We’ve had great support, and over the last three years futsal has really developed a lot in Kuwait. We now have a proper league and hopefully this tournament will get even more people interested in the game.”
The fact that we are the first Kuwait side to play at a World Cup since 1982 is a great achievement, and I know the people back home are very proud of us.
Role models like Alfarsi are also sure to go a long way towards inspiring Kuwait’s next generation of futsal enthusiasts. A flawless ambassador for his country off the court, he also happens to be one of the team’s most talented and combative players, with his performance against Serbia lauded by coach Luis Fonseca. “Ahmad played very well,” said Kuwait’s Spanish coach. “Usually his defensive qualities are more prominent but it was great to see him take those opportunities in attack. He’s a very strong, aggressive player.”
Nor has Alfarsi been the only Kuwait player to impress in Thailand. Despite successive defeats to Czech Republic and Serbia, the debutants have – much to the satisfaction of their young No4 - added considerably to the entertainment on offer.
“I think we’ve played very well,” he said. “But you need goals to win matches and we haven’t scored enough of those. Our general play is good, but other teams have taken their chances better than us. That’s something we need to work on to do better in future.”
Alfari is certainly determined to ensure that his first taste of a FIFA Futsal World Cup will not be his last. While he accepts that Kuwait are now unlikely to snatch one of the best third-place slots and take their place in the last 16, he insists that Thailand 2012 has merely whetted his appetite for another adventure in four years’ time.
“It has been a really great experience,” he enthused. “We have all enjoyed it so much, and learned so much too. All this is new to us, and the level of football is much higher than we've ever experienced before. We always knew it would be tough, but I think we can go home proud of what we’ve done.”