Khalfan Mubarak award for best Emirati player will motivate him to achieve even more for Al Jazira and UAE, says Damien Hertog
Mubarak, 24, was on Friday night named the 2018/19 Arabian Gulf League’s outstanding local player at a glitzy awards ceremony at Dubai’s Madinat Jumeirah
Winning the Arabian Gulf League’s Emirati of the year will motivate Khalfan Mubarak to deliver even better performances for club and country, according to Al Jazira manager Damien Hertog.
Mubarak, 24, was on Friday night named the 2018/19 season’s outstanding local player at a glitzy awards ceremony at Dubai’s Madinat Jumeirah. The prize provided recognition of a fine campaign for the playmaker, who has scored 11 goals and leads the assists charts with 12. With one match remaining, Jazira sit fourth in the table.
Mubarak’s burgeoning reputation led to a starting role for the UAE in January’s Asian Cup, although his impact was modest despite scoring the opener in the Group A victory against India.
Still, with Omar Abdulrahman’s continued absence through injury, Mubarak is expected to help fill the creative void in new manager Bert van Marwijk’s side.
“I would like to congratulate Khalfan Mubarak on winning this prestigious award, which recognises the outstanding level of performance he has displayed throughout the season,” Hertog said. “I’m sure it is going to motivate him to provide a better performance with Al Jazira and the UAE’s national team in the coming years.
“I wasn’t surprised by Khalfan’s great performance this season because I work with him closely on a daily basis. I am well aware of his abilities, his strong commitment to training and his continuous endeavour to provide the best.
“Before the beginning of the season, we decided to change Khalfan’s position from wing to attacking centre and give him the freedom to not just create chances, but also to score more goals. I believe this helped him elevate his performance tremendously and the results are there for everyone to see.”
Mubarak’s teammates, Ali Mabkhout and Khalifa Al Hammadi, were also in the running for end-of-season awards on Friday. The 2017 Emirati of the year, Mabkhout was nominated for the gong once more, although he did make a composite team of the season. The UAE striker, who has 19 goals in 18 matches this campaign, has not played since last month, when he was sent off against Kalba in Round 20.
“I would also like to congratulate Ali Mabkhout for being named in the dream team of the season,” Hertog said. “He is one of the best Emirati players of his time and his goalscoring accolades speak volumes about the talent he possesses.
“It was unfortunate that he missed a few matches because of his suspension. I am sure he would have gone on to score more goals and would have ended the season with even higher numbers.”
Meanwhile, 21-year-old defender Al Hammadi made the three-man shortlist for best young player, but missed out on the award to Al Wasl’s Ali Saleh.
"Special mention goes to Khalifa Al Hammadi for being shortlisted for the Best Young Player award," Hertog said. "Based on the great performances he has displayed for Al Jazira at this young age, I’m sure he will go on to winning many accolades in the future. His selection for the UAE’s national team in the Asian Cup is only evidence of his great potential.”
Updated: May 20, 2019 04:35 PM