Award winners Khalfan Ibrahim (3rd from left), Sebastian Soria (4th from left), Raul (2nd from right) and Hussein Amotta (3rd from right) pose with Qatar Football Association president Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa bin Ahmed al-Thani and other officials at the QFA awards gala on Sunday.
By Anil John/Doha
Al Sadd walked away with most honours at the Qatar Football Association’s annual awards gala held at Aspire Dome on Sunday night.
At a glittering function attended by sponsors, coaches, former players and club officials, Al Sadd star Khalfan Ibrahim won the QFA Player of the Year award beating teammate and captain Raul Gonzalez in a close contest.
Attacking midfielder Khalfan, who received the trophy from QFA president Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa bin Ahmed al-Thani, vowed to do even better next season after inspiring his club to the Qatar Stars League title with 10 goals.
The occasion turned particularly poignant when Khalfan’s father, Ibrahim Khalfan, joined him on the stage.
Ibrahim Khalfan, a former player himself, exhorted his son to always set high standards for himself and play with integrity and passion.
“You deserve this award but you should not get complacent. Instead, you should strive to become an even better player,” Ibrahim Khalfan told his son. “Remember, this award is a recognition of your efforts by the QFA and the fans. You should always honour it,” he added.
Khalfan, who was just 18 when he won the Asian Player of the Year award in 2006, has been a great servant for Al Sadd over the years, helping them to the Asian Champions League title in 2011. His best personal effort of the 2012-13 season came in the semi-finals of the Heir Apparent Cup earlier this month when he sliced through the Al Rayyan midfield and defence with a blazing 70-yard run before scoring with a powerful shot.
“It was one of those days, but I will try to do better for Al Sadd next season and help the club win more trophies,” he said.
Raul also made his mark at the awards, winning the fair play trophy, the Real Madrid and Spain legend finishing the entire season without being booked even once.
“I’m a role model to children all over the world and if I can be better and show them the right way to play then I will be happy,” said Raul, who scored one goal for his side in the final of the Emir Cup which Al Rayyan won.
Al Sadd’s Hussein Amotta was declared the Coach of the Year, while Abdulkarim Hassan took the Best Under-21 Player prize. Moroccan Amotta, 43, who distinguished himself as a midfielder for Al Sadd between 1997 and 2001 and later played one season for Qatar Sports Club in 2003, was thrilled with his achievement.
“I am honoured that I was chosen for this award. This means a lot to me because there are several teams in Qatar with capable coaches,” said Amotta, who beat Lekhwiya’s Eric Gerets for the top prize.
Lekhwiya striker Sebastian Soria also won a prize for being the top scorer in the Qatar Stars League with 19 goals, while Al Rayyan and Al Sadd shared the prize for having the “best fans”.
Al Khor were awarded the “Best Management” prize.
Guest of honour at the end-of season dinner was QSL CEO and QFA President HE Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa bin Ahmad al-Thani. “It was a great night with a lot of good recognition for our clubs. I think this all demonstrates what a bright future football in this country has,” Sheikh Hamad said.
“I am very proud to all the players and coaches who made this season so enjoyable.”
Abdulrahman al-Dosari, Chief Commercial Officer for QSL, praised the players and winners of the award as he reflected on what was a fantastic night for the league. “The awards for season 2012/2013 have gone to those who deserve them, especially the award for best player and best coach.
“There were 120 people who voted through forms distributed to the media, coaches and administrators.
“It is the peers of the winners who have come to this decision and they should be thankful for the decision. I can only deem the awards a huge success as we showcased what the league has to offer.”