x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Super Shehi is ready for more

Mohammed al Shehi capped his most rewarding campaign when he was named the Emirati Player of the Year by the UAE FA.

The Al Wahda striker Mohammed al Shehi.
The Al Wahda striker Mohammed al Shehi.

ABU DHABI // Mohammed al Shehi capped his most rewarding campaign when he was named the Emirati Player of the Year in the UAE Football Association's season-ending awards ceremony. The honour comes after Shehi, 20, won his first international cap in the Asian Cup finals almost a year ago and on the back of receiving the Young Player of the Year award last season.

It was a wonderful achievement for Shehi, who has been a revelation for the national team as well as for his club Al Wahda. And the emerging young star said: "This award is a great responsibility and I hope I can deliver in the coming seasons - both at club and international level. "I am really honoured to be named the Player of the Year. I believe there are many players better than me playing here in the Etisalat league and they were equally deserving of the award. So I am very happy."

Shehi first broke into prominence when he topped the scoring charts with the UAE Under-17 side at the Youth Gulf Cup in Qatar in 2003 with 10 goals. He had been on the up until Bruno Metsu drafted him to the national team for the Asian Cup. "Shehi has incredible capabilities. I had decided to select him to the national team after watching him playing for Al Wahda. That was the first time I had a really good look at him and I was convinced of his outstanding talent," said Metsu at that time.

Mohammed Khalfan al Rumaithi, the UAEFA chief, commented on the youngster's achievement by saying: "Shehi has played consistently well for both, the national team and his club. And some of the goals he scored for Al Wahda were outstanding and revived his club's elevation in the Etisalat league." Shehi says his first priority is to see his team progress in the 2010 World Cup Asia Zone qualifier. Shehi added: "I really hope we can qualify for the World Cup in South Africa. I dream of that for the whole of the UAE and I hope I can play my part and help in turning this dream into reality."

The goal against Kuwait at Al Ain in the World Cup Asia Zone qualifiers was his most memorable for last season. And he adds, "I am also happy with the way I performed in the last three games for the UAE after returning from injury. Al Wahda had a poor season, but I hope we will do a lot better next year." Cristiano Ronaldo is his favourite player and Manchester United is his favourite club. Yet, he is inspired by his national team colleagues Hilal Saeed, the midfielder from Al Ain, and Faisal Khalil, the Al Ahli striker, who was top-scorer in the Etisalat league.

His aspirations are there to play abroad, but he also wants to do more for his club. "I dream and hope of playing in the European leagues but first, I need to do something for Al Wahda and the UAE," he said. @Email:apasella@thenational.ae