In our regular Sunday feature, FIFA.com presents you with some of the biggest names from Planet Football who will be celebrating their birthdays over the coming week.
20. Skander Souayah (39) is one of the most talented footballers Tunisia has produced in recent times, and he used his skills to help the Carthage Eagles to make a long-awaited reappearance at the FIFA World Cup™. The midfielder also scored the crucial goal against Romania that enabled the Tunisians to secure their only point at France 1998. At domestic level, Souayah played for CS Sfaxien and Esperance Tunis, with whom he won numerous Tunisian league titles.
21. Vincenzo Iaquinta (32) can look back proudly on what he is likely to regard as the pinnacle of his career: being part of the Italian squad that lifted the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany. He saw playing time in five matches altogether, scoring his country’s first goal of the finals against Ghana. Four years later, he was also involved in the Italians’ disappointing showing at South Africa 2010, during which he still managed to find the net, helping his side to a draw versus New Zealand. In between time, he had also participated in the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup. Iaquinta first came to prominence with modest Padova in Serie B, but moved up a division after joining Udinese, by way of Castel di Sangro. His clinical finishing quickly won over the fans, as well as the national coach, who handed him his first cap for Italy. After four seasons in Udine, he signed for Juventus, initially as back-up for the dynamic front pairing of Alessandro Del Piero and David Trezeguet. Iaquinta was the scorer of the Turin club’s 600th goal in European competition.
22. Jorge Fossati (59) enjoyed an exceptional 2011, guiding Qatari outfit Al Sadd to the AFC Champions League title, a feat which qualified them for the FIFA Club World Cup Japan 2011. Fossati is no stranger to success, having lifted various South American trophies in his playing days. A goalkeeper of some standing, he won five Uruguayan championship medals with Penarol. He turned out for both Independiente and Rosario, with whom he won the Argentinian league title. He also managed the same feat in Paraguay, helping Olimpia to become domestic champions. After hanging up his boots, he moved into coaching, where he continued to shine. He led Penarol to the title, before taking over at Paraguayan side Cerro Porteno. In 2009, at the helm of Ecuador’s LDU Quito, he steered his players to the Copa Sudamericana and Recopa Sudamericana. He even tried his hand at international football, overseeing Uruguay’s creditable third-placed finish at the 2004 Copa America. Fossati then decided a change of scenery was in order, and moved to the Persian Gulf with Al Sadd, with whom he enjoyed a successful spell before taking over at the head of the Qatari national team. Following a stint with Al-Shabab in Saudi Arabia, he returned to Al Sadd, transforming them into Asian champions in a matter of months. With his charges scheduled to play Esperance of Tunisia for the right to face the mighty Barcelona in the semi-final of the FIFA Club World Cup, Fossati intends to make sure they cause a few surprises in Japan.
23. Nihat Kahveci (32) was part of the Turkey side that exceeded all expectations by reaching the semi-finals of the 2002 FIFA World Cup. While the Turks may not have made the Final, they did end the tournament in an entirely respectable third place. The following year, they confirmed their staying power by finishing third at the FIFA Confederations Cup. Kahveci’s international adventures did not end there, as a few years later the forward played a significant role in his country’s run to the semi-finals of UEFA EURO 2008. At club level, he started out at Besiktas, with whom he lifted the Turkish Cup. He then signed for Real Sociedad, where he was an integral part of the team that finished just behind Real Madrid in La Liga in 2002/03. Four years in the Basque country were followed by a spell at Villarreal, where his goals again propelled his new team to runners-up spot in the league. The striker returned to Besiktas in 2009, and he picked up a further Turkish Cup winners medal with the club last season.
24. Gamal Abdelhamid (54) captained the Egypt side that surprised many observers at Italy 90, thereby gaining a legendary reputation among Egyptian fans. The Pharaohs showed that they were a force to be reckoned with during the group stage of the competition, securing hard-fought draws with the Netherlands and the Republic of Ireland, and losing narrowly to England. Abdelhamid had already enjoyed success with his country by triumphing at the 1986 CAF African Cup of Nations, and by finishing top scorer at the 1988 edition of the continental tournament. The striker is part of an elite club of players who have made the move between fierce Cairo rivals Al Ahly and Zamalek. During his time with Al Ahly, the club claimed five Egyptian championships, four Egyptian Cups, an African Cup Winners’ Cup (now CAF Confederations Cup) and an African Cup of Champions Clubs (now CAF Champions League). Abdelhamid secured further silverware with Zamalek, winning three league titles, an Egyptian Cup, and four continental titles. A constant threat in the penalty box during his career, he scored 99 goals in the Egyptian league and 18 in African club competition.
25. Gustavo Poyet (44) belongs to the unfortunate group of outstanding players who never got the chance to participate in a FIFA World Cup. The Uruguayan nevertheless made his mark on the international stage by helping his country lift the Copa America in 1995. At club level, it was with Real Zaragoza that he made his name. Having won the Copa del Rey and the UEFA Cup-Winners’ Cup with the Spanish side, he signed for Chelsea, during what was a major rebuilding period for the London club. It was a successful move, as Poyet added another UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup medal to his collection, and was part of the team that lifted the UEFA Super Cup and the FA Cup. The robust midfielder then spent several seasons at Tottenham, before embarking on a new career as player-assistant coach of Swindon Town, and then of Leeds United. After finally hanging up his boots, he had a stint as assistant coach at Tottenham, where he helped guide the team to the English League Cup. Poyet went on to take the reins at third-tier outfit Brighton and Hove Albion, and led his side to promotion last season, picking up the title of Manager of the Year in the process.
26. Aruna Dindane (31) was the scorer of two of the three goals that delivered Côte d'Ivoire’s first-ever victory at the finals of a FIFA World Cup. This feat came at Germany 2006, where the Africans overcame Serbia 3-2, although they were still unable to advance to the knockout rounds. At South Africa 2010, Dindane and his team-mates secured another victory – over Korea DPR this time around – but it was again insufficient to ensure progress past the group stage. Dindane has also appeared at three CAF African Cup of Nations finals. The attacker began his career with Mimosas Abidjan, where he won the championship and finished top scorer in the league. He subsequently tried his luck in Europe, signing for Anderlecht. He enjoyed great success in Belgium, becoming a firm favourite with the fans and helping the Brussels-based club to claim two league titles and two Belgian Super Cups during his time there. In 2003, he was voted Belgian Footballer of the Year. He moved across the border to French outfit Lens, with whom he won the Intertoto cup and the Ligue 2 title. After a short-lived spell in England with Portsmouth, he joined Lekhwiya, a rising force in the Qatari league. He went on to pick up a league winners medal last season, and will consequently be hoping to make a major impact in the 2012 AFC Champions League.