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  • Ahmed Saleh

Salem Al Dawsari, a Saudi football maestro, poised for historic recognition

DOHA — In the world of Asian football, one name stands out for both passion and skill – Salem Al Dawsari, the Saudi maestro poised to make history.

As the AFC Annual Awards Doha 2022 approach, Salem finds himself among the distinguished contenders vying for the coveted title of AFC Player of the Year.

Speaking to the press ahead of the awards ceremony, Salem, along with fellow nominee Qatari talisman Almoez Ali and Australian forward Mathew Leckie, expressed his delight at being considered for this prestigious accolade.

For Salem, this recognition extends beyond personal glory. At the age of 32, he has become a symbol of footballing excellence in Saudi Arabia.

"I'm thankful to be nominated for this," Salem said, breaking new ground as the first Saudi player to contend for the title since Nasser Al-Shamrani's win in 2014.

Gratitude filled his words as he acknowledged the pivotal role played by his teammates at Al Hilal and the national team in elevating him to this prestigious position.

Salem's journey is a narrative of triumphs, including his crucial role in Al Hilal SFC's consecutive victories in the 2021/22 Saudi Pro League and the 2022/23 King's Cup, as well as their remarkable journey to the AFC Champions League 2022 and FIFA Club World Cup Morocco 2022 Finals.

These accomplishments, he emphasized, are not just personal milestones but a testament to Saudi Arabia's collective football ambition.

"If I win, it will be a great achievement for Saudi Arabia. A player needs to be passionate and ambitious. Winning won't quell my ambition; it will only motivate me to continue performing for my club and national team," Salem asserted, underlining his dedication to the game.

As he stands on the verge of potential glory, Salem reflects on the defining moments of his recent campaigns. Among these, his sensational winning goal against Argentina at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 is a standout moment etched in footballing history.

"It was an incredibly joyful and historic moment to score against Argentina," he recalled. Yet, Salem's ambition reaches beyond individual victories. "A player should always work harder and harder," he added, embodying the spirit of unwavering determination.

Salem's influence extends beyond national borders, leaving an impact on the Qatar World Cup and earning accolades as the top scorer for Saudi Arabia in World Cup history. His journey with Al Hilal, marked by his contributions in the Club World Cup final against Real Madrid and clinching the Saudi Professional League title in 2021-2022, solidifies his legacy.

On the road to the 2022 AFC Champions League final, Salem shone with four goals and three crucial assists, despite a red card blemish on his record. However, his indomitable spirit remains undaunted.

As the AFC Annual Awards approach, Salem Al Dawsari emerges not just as a nominee but as a symbol of Saudi footballing excellence. The question that lingers as Doha's event nears is whether Salem will seize the title and make history as the Best Footballer in Asia.

The stage is set, the story unfolds, and Salem's journey promises to capture the hearts of football enthusiasts across the continent.

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