FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, which runs from Nov. 20 to Dec. 18, will witness some of the best athletes in the world competing against each other. Even our favorite Arab football players will be competing, like Yassine Bounou of Morocco, who is the goalkeeper for Sevilla, and Ferjani Sassi of Tunisia and Al Duhail FC. There are additional football players from the Middle East who had exceptional careers and played important roles in their national teams. For this reason, we have created an Arab Fantasy team that brings together these Arab players creating an All-star team!
The formation will be 5-3-2 because it will give a very balanced approach that will keep things pretty tight in the back to prevent easy goals. Also, this plan would allow us to capitalize offensively, especially on the counterattacks.
Our reserve goalkeeper will be Ahmed Shobeir who joined Egypt’s Al-Ahly F.C from Tanta club in 1977. In 1990, he participated with the Egyptian national team in the FIFA World Cup that was hosted by Italy. His last season (1996-1997) was his most famous throughout his career with the team, as Al-Ahly was able to win the league, cup and Arab championships. Shobeir is also the only goalkeeper who succeeded in keeping clean sheets during the cup matches in which he participated for 13 years.
As the main goalkeeper, we will have Essam El-Hadary, who is known as “The High Dam” in Egypt and has played for clubs in Egypt, Switzerland, Sudan, and Saudi Arabia. El Hadary won the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) title three times in a row with Egypt in 2006, 2008, and 2010. The goalkeeper made history by becoming the oldest player ever to participate in a World Cup game at the age of 45 years and 161 days which was announced by FIFA back in the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
Regarded as one of the best African defenders and Arab of all time, Wael Gomaa is the perfect player to completely shut down any attempts on our goalie. Through solid defending due to his strength and unparalleled talent, Gomaa participated with Al Ahly F.C in 3 FIFA World Club Cup editions, in 2005, 2006 and 2008. With his national team, he made his international debut on 26 April 2001 in a friendly match against South Korea. Gomaa was pivotal in the Egypt national team’s African Cup of Nations in 2006, 2008 and 2010. He appeared in every match for the Egyptian side in both tournaments, defending against top European league players such as Didier Drogba and Samuel Eto’o.
Gomaa will be joined by Morocco’s Medhi Benatia and Egypt’s Ahmed Hegazy who have both had wonderful careers. Benatia played for the Moroccan team, Seria A’s Juventus, and for the Bundesliga’s Bayern Munich. On the other hand, Hegazy played as a centre back for Saudi Pro League club Al-Ittihad, Premeir League’s West Bromwich, and the Egyptian National Team. They both would undoubtedly form an extraordinary trio along with Wael Gomaa to stop any attempts on goal.
For the right wing and left wing, we have Morocco’s Achraf Hakimi and Hakim Ziyech who are considered among the most talented players of their generation. We’ll be seeing them at this world cup and we can’t wait for them to score some goals.
They both have played and scored goals for Morocco and performed extremely well with their clubs Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Chelsea. Their speed and experience would serve the team well as they both are unstoppable forces while dribbling with the ball.
Hossam Ghaly, Mohamed Zidan, and Ahmed Hassan will spearhead the midfield as they all have proven their experience on the pitch. They represented Egypt altogether and won the Africa Cup of Nations several times, proving that their talent exceeds that of a regular midfielder due to their ability to coordinate with the attacking and defending sides. They will definitely control the field and the pace of the match!
For strikers, we will be leading with Mo Salah and Riyad Mahrez who are killing it in the premium league with their respective teams Liverpool and Manchester City. They both have broken multiple records as they have scored goals in a number of competitions. Playing side by side will guarantee this team a golden opportunity to score as many goals as possible.
Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Morocco, and Qatar (because it is the hosting nation) are the Arab countries that have qualified to compete in the World Cup. Both Egypt and Algeria however did not qualify and while Riyad Mahrez and Mo Salah will miss the world cup and we won’t be able to see them score goals, they both will take on new roles as commentators at BEIN Sports Channels.