Dynamic Jordan goalscorer Alnaimat proud of Al Nashama

  • Alnaimat stood out for Jordan at Qatar 2021

  • Forward opened the scoring in the quarter-final against Egypt

  • Immensely proud of his team’s overall performance

Only 12 minutes into Jordan's quarter-final against Egypt, striker Yazan Alnaimat received the ball from Ali Olwan, set himself up with a delicate touch before powering a shot past the helpless Mohamed Elshenawy, who had previously only conceded once at the tournament.

The goal came as a shock to the 28,000 plus spectators in attendance at the Al Janoub Stadium, silencing the large contingent of Egyptian supporters. Meanwhile wild Jordanian celebrations ensued, which were matched on the pitch by those of Alnaimat and Alwan.

But as the age-old saying goes, “better the last smile than the first laughter”. Going behind seemed to spur the Pharaohs into action and precipitated a comeback, despite dogged resistance from the Jordanians. With the score 1-1 at fulltime, another 30 minutes were needed, enough time for Carlos Queiroz’ side to score twice and extinguish any hopes of a Jordanian upset.

Despite the cruel nature of their defeat, Alnaimat was proud of his team’s valiant performances, not only against Egypt but throughout the tournament, saying: “Al Nashama were the heroes of the day and lived up to expectations, but we faded away in the second half against a strong Egyptian outfit.

“Despite the loss today, each and every player was up to the task, and we did ourselves proud," he added.

Although Egypt managed to equalize in first-half stoppage time, Alnaimat came close to repeating his earlier heroics eight minutes after the break, with the Jordanian striker latching onto a long ball just outside the box then dribbling inside, only to drag his shot narrowly wide from 12 yards.

Rueing the missed chance, Alnaimat said: “It was a great opportunity for us to retake the lead. Chances were few and far between at the beginning of the second half and things would’ve been very different if I’d taken the chance, but it was not to be.”

AL WAKRAH, QATAR - DECEMBER 11: Yazan Alnaimat of Jordan and Mahmoud Hamdy of Egypt battle for the ball during the FIFA Arab Cup Qatar 2021 Quarter-Final match between Egypt and Jordan at Al Janoub Stadium on December 11, 2021 in Al Wakrah, Qatar. (Photo by Mohamed Farag - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

Chance to shine

Prior to the Arab Cup, Alnaimat had only scored once for Jordan, and that in a friendly against Bahrain in March 2020. However, the youngster has to be considered one of best strikers at this tournament, scoring three goals in 171 minutes of play.

The 22-year-old talked about his fine form, saying: “I had a very successful Cup and was supported all the way by my team-mates. I’m one of the youngest players in the squad, but the team put their trust in me, helping me to score the goals I did."

Alnaimat's brilliance was even more surprising given he does not play for either of the big two Jordanian teams, Al Wehdat or Al-Faisaly. He started his football career in 2018 with Sahab SC, which has never won a domestic title.

Asked about his club, the front man finished by saying: “It’s a matter of great pride to join the list of Sahab players who have played for the national team. And even though I don’t represent any of the major clubs in Jordan, such as Al-Wehdat, Al-Faisaly or Al-Ramtha, I’ve left my mark. I hope to continue shining in the future as I have done here.”