Who’s who of the country’s football scene graced the Qatar Football Association’s (QFA) end-of-season Awards Ceremony with their presence at the sprawling Qatar National Convention Center in Education City on Thursday night.
The dignitaries included officials, administrators, coaches, players and the like.
The awards presented were for the best player, best Under-23 player, best coach, top scorer (Mansour Muftah Award), best referees and Football For All.
QNB Stars League and Qatar Cup champions Al Duhail bagged four of the awards as their coach Djamel Belmadi, captain Yousef Msakni (best player), top scorer Yousef El Arabi and Almoez Ali (best Under-23 player) were honoured.
Two of the awards were repeats from last season, Almoez being named the best U-23 player and El Arabi winning the top-scorer award.
Abdullah Ali Al Athba, Taleb Salem Al Marri and Khalid Eid were adjudged the Best Referees, while Salah Saqr Ramadan Tournament won the Football For All Award.
QNB Stars League team coaches, Qatar national team coach, Qatar Olympic team coach, team managers, media representatives, representative of Qatar Football Association (QFA), representative of Qatar Stars League Management, as well as president and Board members of the QFA participated in the final voting process.
Al Duhail’s Tunisian attacking midfielder Yousef Msakni was adjudged the best player. He got more votes than the other finalists — South Korean playmaker Nam Tae-Hee, also of Al Duhail, and Al Sadd’s Spain and Barcelona great Xavi Hernandez.
Msakni played a pivotal role in Al Duhail clinching the QNB Stars League title with an unbeaten record. He was the second-best scorer with 25 goals and provided a lot of assists.
However, he missed their triumphant Qatar Cup campaign with an injury.
El Arabi bagged the Mansour Muftah Award, given to the top scorer in QNB Stars League, for a second successive time. The Moroccan striker had 26 goals to his credit.
El Arabi was the top scorer last season as well with 24 goals, one more than Al Sadd’s Baghdad Bounedjah.
Best Under-23 Player
Almoez had an outstanding season and that saw him emerging as the Best Under-23 Player for the second year in a row. He beat off the challenge from his Al Duhail team-mate Bassam Al Rawi and Al Sadd’s Salem Al Hajri.
Djamel Belmadi was deservingly voted as the best tactician ahead of other finalists Jesualdo Ferreira of Al Sadd and Michael Laudrup of Al Rayyan.
The Algerian guided Al Duhail to the QNB Stars League and Qatar Cup triumphs. The Red Knights are in the final of Emir’s Cup. They have also reached the AFC Champions League quarterfinals.
Abdullah Al Marri, Taleb Salem and Khalid Eid.
Football For All Award
The Salah Saqr Tournament, which began 42 years ago as an amateur summer event, is being organised during Ramadan for several years now. It is a platform for amateur players to play and develop camaraderie among themselves. It has withstood the test of time and has become one of the oldest tournaments in the region, perhaps the Arab world itself.