Ismail Matar made the final five on the shortlist for the AFC Player of the Year Award last week, but he has had little time to celebrate.
Matar shoulders expectations with a smile
DUBAI // Ismail Matar made the final five on the shortlist for the AFC Player of the Year Award last week, but he has had little time to celebrate. The Al Wahda a striker has instead been fully focused on the UAE's 2010 World Cup qualifier against Iran. Matar has been working hard in training for the must-win game, but with a smile. He is a bundle of energy on the pitch and there are always words of encouragement for his team-mates.
There is little sign of any nerves or pressure in the camp as the UAE prepare for a game that will decide the fate of their 2010 World Cup campaign. "This nomination doubles the responsibility on me," said Matar. "I am really honoured, because it is a recognition of all the effort and toil that players put in day in and day out. "I have to make sure I live up to the reputation, playing for the club or nation. It has certainly increased my motivation to do well for the country. I hope to continue the good work and win the award.
"That will be a great moment not just for me, but for the whole country and football in the UAE." firstname.lastname@example.org