Amiri’s remarkable journey from raw teen to Afghanistan icon
Kabul: For many, attending a relative's wedding is a pleasant experience. For Afghan international Zohib Islam Amiri, however, it was more than just a fond memory. His presence at a cousin's wedding a decade and half ago proved pivotal in kick-starting what has been an illustrious footballing career.
The time was March, 2005 when 15-year-old Amiri and his parents — then refugees in Pakistan — returned to the Afghanistan capital Kabul for a cousin's wedding. He was then an adoring fan of Manchester United rising star Cristiano Ronaldo, while his cousin was playing with local club Shoa FC.
Kuala Lumpur: The birthplace of total football, and the country that launched the careers of some of the game’s most influential figures, the Netherlands is a country with a proud footballing tradition.
But while a long list of Dutch stars have become household names, the country also has a history of welcoming some of Asia’s outstanding players.
From 1980s pioneers like Huh Jung-moo and Fandi Ahmad to the stars of the modern game, the Eredivisie has played host to some of the continent’s best and brightest, making it a league of interest for generations of Asian fans.
Our list features several title winners and a league top goal scorer, but which of these icons deserves the title of Asia’s best?
Van Quyet targets unprecedented third successive V.League crown
Hanoi: Nguyen Van Quyet has admitted that Hanoi FC have their eyes firmly fixed on a third league title in a row as Vietnam’s V.League gets set to resume on Friday following the COVID-19 pandemic.
V.League champions in 2018 and 2019, Hanoi enjoyed considerable success last year as they also lifted the Vietnamese Cup and were crowned the AFC Cup’s ASEAN Zonal champions in a campaign that will go down as the best in their history.
The capital city side have now won the league in three of the past four seasons, and they are targeting history in 2020 as no club has ever claimed three in a row since league football was introduced in Vietnam back in 1980.
New Delhi: June 4, 2018 will remain etched in the memory of Indian football fans forever. It was on this day that talismanic Sunil Chhetri played his 100th International match – only the second Indian footballer to do so. And he made it even more memorable with a double strike in a 3-0 victory over mighty Kenya.
While a full house clad in Blue braved the incessant rain to reach the Mumbai Football Arena hours before the kick-off, the rest of India remained glued to their television sets to witness history — #Chhetri100.
Samara: February 2020 was a turning point in the life of stylish Iraqi midfielder Safaa Hadi. That was when the promising youngster signed a two-and-a-half-year contract with PFC Krylia Sovetov Samara, becoming the first Iraqi to play in the Russian Premier League.
After starting out in youth football at the prestigious Ammo Baba Academy in Baghdad, Hadi got his first senior team experience with Amant Baghdad SC. He then moved between Al-Minaa SC, Al-Zawra'a SC and Al-Shorta SC before being called up to the Iraqi national team for the 2019 AFC Asian Cup and subsequent Asian Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023.
In an exclusive interview with FIFA.com, the 21-year-old discussed his move to Russia and the difficulties faced during his first professional assignment outside Iraq. He also expressed his firm desire to continue playing in the host nation of world football’s flagship event two years ago.
Asian Classics: Bahrain v Saudi Arabia (2010 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers)
Kuala Lumpur: Football tends to offer a lot in the way of dramatic endings. Round five of the 2010 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers gave us just that when Bahrain and Saudi Arabia faced-off with a place in the Intercontinental Play-off at stake.
New Zealand, triumphant in the OFC Qualifiers, awaited the winners between 2007 AFC Asian Cup runners-up Saudi Arabia and their neighbours Bahrain who had come within a whisker of reaching the FIFA World Cup in their previous attempt four years earlier.