By Tom Danicek
On the surface, José Daniel Carreño’s debut on the Qatari bench was anything but remarkable.
In the heart of a very experimental line-up, you could find a barely mobile midfield tandem of Abdulaziz Hatem and Majdi Siddiq, at right back Qatar might’ve been much better off without an obvious miscast in leggy Mohammed Musa, and in offence it was all about waiting for Al Haidos & Ali Assadalla to finally come off the bench and bring some badly needed flair to the pitch.
There was absolutely nothing to get excited about, I swear – apart from one bright spot on the left-hand side of that multilingual Qatari defensive line, Lekhwiya’s Ahmed Yasser.
It was this fullback, after all, who made the first goal of Carreño’s tenure happen with his surging run towards the opponent’s penalty area. He got stopped eventually, but the key was in the run itself. Until the 70th minute, Qatari efforts had been characterized by the fear of doing something different if not audacious. But on this occasion, Ahmed Yasser simply went for it and laid the foundations of this beauty by Karim Boudiaf.
Overall, the 21-year-old excelled, mainly at the other end of the pitch. While flying majestically in the air, Yasser stopped two high passes headed behind the line and his tremendous ball control was on show whenever he was starting up some rare attacking moves, too. His primary function wasn’t to burst forward, as Abdelkarim Hassan tends to do; instead he proved to be a welcomed outlet within the dubious Qatari build-up.
Albeit he brought something else to the table, the tenacious and skilful left back was ultimately nowhere short of quality usually provided by his more experienced rivals, Abdelkarim Hassan and Khaled Muftah, with whom he has indeed more than one thing in common. First of all, these three have all graduated from the Aspire Academy. And second, they all play for one of the two best outfits in the country.
One important aspect separating Ahmed Yasser from his peers is that he doesn’t enjoy regular playing time on club level. At the moment, it’s the tiny Khaled Muftah, who’s clearly preferred by Lekhwiya’s manager Michael Laudrup – and the title holders will hardly feel there’s time for a sudden change.
That’s not to say Ahmed Yasser wouldn’t be worth it, though. He’s clearly one gifted young lad, which is no coincidence either. His Egyptian father came to Qatar as a football coach and his older brother Hussein used to be a prominent Qatari prospect.
However, Hussein’s relative success is as much a positive prerequisite as a worry for those who follow Ahmed Yasser’s career steps and wish him all the best. The now 31-year-old striker ended up being more of a nation’s failure and his international career was terminated prematurely by his late arrival for practice and general misbehaviour during the 2011 Asian Cup.
Now, a younger brother surely isn’t automatically expected to copy his older one, but as my consultant Ahmed Hashim points out, this might actually be the case. The former Al Rayyan player seems to be an erratic hot head, who drives a Maserati and loves to get into disciplinary troubles.
Only a week ago, Ahmed Yasser was sent off in the Asian Champions League against Al Sadd, while earlier last year he was suspended by the QFA for half of the season due to an incident during the 2014 West Asian Football Federation Championship. That’s hardly a ticket to heaven in the making really, which doesn’t bode well for his professional career either.
Anyway, nothing is lost at this stage, obviously. Ahmed Yasser could probably use a transfer out from the star-stuffed Lekhwiya to properly develop, but who knows – Laudrup’s departure can happen virtually on any given day and something like this could instantly change Yasser’s fortune.
Another option, of course, would be to produce performances like yesterday’s one against Northern Ireland on a regular basis…