It is rare to find a 21-year-old footballer ready and willing to admit to his mistakes, but that was exactly what FIFA.com found in Al-Wahda Sports Club’s young defender Hamdan Al Kamali. The subject in question was Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma F.C.'s opening goal after just four minutes of the sides' quarter-final here at the FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2010, when a mix-up between Al Kamali and goalkeeper Adel Al Hosani enabled Colombian midfielder Mauricio Molina to score into an unguarded net.
“That incident was a poor way of starting the match,” admitted Al Kamali. “Of course it influenced what went on afterwards, although I would say it was their second goal, which came just after we’d equalised, that had the biggest impact on our second-half performance. Our coach had warned us that they were dangerous from set pieces, but that’s how they scored their second and fourth goals. They also managed to catch us out when scoring their third goal on the counter-attack.”
With experience of facing North, Central America and Caribbean opposition, having taken on Honduras and Costa Rica for UAE’s U-20 team en route to the last eight of the FIFA U-20 World Cup Egypt 2009, Al Kamali will hope to put that knowledge to good use against the CONCACAF Champions League winners. “Football’s like that, someone has to lose for someone else to win, but we’ll be trying to make amends against Pachuca,” said the defender.
“We mustn’t all charge forward like we did in our last game, when we made Seongnam’s job easier by committing ourselves to attack after conceding the opening goal,” continued the Al Wahda No36 on the lessons learned in defeat against the Korea Republic side. “I didn’t watch the game between Pachuca and TP Mazembe, but I do know that the Mexican outfit are the best team in the CONCACAF Zone.
“We’ll have to be cautious because we’ll be up against very skilful players in a similar mould to Molina, who was excellent against us. You have to stay focused from start to finish in this kind of matches. I just hope that we can do ourselves justice and finish the tournament on a positive note.”
And as the conversation drew to a close, the promising youngster gave his views on what it means to be involved in the FIFA Club World Cup for the first time. “Personally, I’m very proud to be taking part in this competition, but I really hope that we’re able to make amends. Our fans have supported us so well over these past two games: we need to do them proud against Pachuca.”