Should Al Ittihad defeat Al Ain on Saturday and win back-to-back Asian titles, their players can expect to earn huge bonuses. As well as the financial rewards on offer for winning the continental crown, the chance to represent the AFC at the FIFA Club World Championship TOYOTA Cup Japan 2005 in December should pump more gold into the club's coffers.

But, strange as it may seem, money is the last thing on the minds of the superstars from Saudi Arabia. As the Muslim holy month draws to a close, giving, rather than receiving, is higher among thoughts.
The second leg will be held during the Islamic feast following Ramadan, where the tradition, like Christmas for Christians, is to give presents.

"We hope that winning the title will be the best gift we can give our fans this feast," Ittihad's goalkeeper Mabrouk Zaid told

The 26-year-old was inspirational in the 1-1 draw in the United Arab Emirates, making a string of saves to keep Al Ain at bay. Having missed out in last year's sensational 5-0 second leg defeat of Seongnam Chunma in Korea, Zaid is desperate to experience the thrill of lifting the Asian crown.
"It is a very difficult moment when you find yourself unable to share with your team such important moments," he said. "But today I dream about winning this cup because I know it's not only important for Ittihad but for our whole kingdom."

Zaid, who recently succeeded the legendary Mohammed Al Daeyea as Saudi Arabia's first-choice keeper, believes that reaching Japan would be a significant milestone in his career. 

"It would be a huge honour for any player to participate in two top competitions like the world club championship in Japan next month and then the World Cup in Germany next year," said the player recently shortlisted for the AFC player for the year prize.
Roots and reasons
Skipper Mohamed Noor, who was surprisingly left out of the starting line-up in Al Ain, wants to dedicate the title to his former club Al Saghar. In unique circumstances, the midfielder was named an honorary board member of his former club Al Saghar as a reward for his loyalty.

Eyes on the prize, Noor is in no mood to celebrate just yet and warns about underestimating their rivals.
"The 1-1 result in Al Ain does not mean anything," he said. "They can come to Jeddah and achieve the same result. It is an Arab derby, you can never predict what might happen and we should remain alert until the final whistle."
Hard to believe perhaps but defender Ahmed Dokhi wants to win the cup for far more personal reasons - to end a family feud.

"Since I joined Ittihad from Al Hilal my mum has been very upset with me," confided the Saudi international. Dokhi's mother is a Hilal fanatic and has not been on good terms with her son since he moved to their rivals Ittihad.

"I hope that she will finally forgive me if I get her the title as a feast present," he prayed. "I want to dedicate it to my mum."