There is more to it than just winning or losing. The experience of playing against Brazilian teams is worth more than the result of the championship. To the boys of Al Hilal Al Saudi Club, the only foreign team to participate in the São Paulo Youth Soccer Cup, the chance of playing in the country with the best football in the world is the largest of awards.
On talking to the Saudi youths, all under age 20, it is easy to notice their great love for soccer and their admiration for Brazil. “It is a very good experience. We are making use of our participation in the championship. The entire team played well,” said Fahad Al Johani, author of the two goals scored by the Arab team, which drew 2X2 with Paulínia Futebol Clube, in a match this January 6, in Paulínia, in the interior of São Paulo.
When asked whether he would like to play in Brazil, Johani answers that his interest is in soccer, “no matter whether in Brazil or Saudi Arabia”, but he adds that he believes playing here could be more advantageous “as you play among the big ones”.
On the bench, goalkeeper Ahmed Al Waki only played due to an injury suffered by the main goalkeeper, but he made his opportunity valid. Under strong sun, he made good saves that were even praised by the Brazilians. “Each player must make use of the contact with the Brazilian players who play in the best championships in the world,” said the youth about interaction with Brazilian athletes.
Playing for five years, his dream is to become a professional player for the Al Hilal main team, although he does not discard a possible contract with a Brazilian team. “It would be a great honor for me to play professionally in Brazil. It would be an honor for me, for Al Hilal and for the Saudi people.”
The next Al Hilal match should take place on Saturday, 9, against Remo, from Pará. However, striker Johani says he has no expectations regarding the result of the match, and makes use of the opportunity to thank all those involved, Brazilian and Saudi, for the opportunity of playing in the country with the best football in the world.