Hello, Mohamad. It is great to hear you making a transfer once again to a European team, this time to Scandinavia. Tell us, how did your “professional journey” begin from the point where you were at Nejmeh?
Hello, yeah it s a good step for the future. I started with Nejmeh at the age of 13. I played with all age groups and i had the chance to be the captain of team in all of them. I helped my team to win the under 14, and then the under 19, championships; these were the only championships that Nejmeh’s youth teams have achieved during the last 9 years, which is something i will always be proud of. At 17 i was a first team players and i played 3 seasons, then at 19 i launched my career abroad with Suduva, who purchased me from Nejmeh. My first season in Lithuania went very well, and i was chosen as the best young striker in the league, after i scored 10 goals in 31 games that i participated in.
How was the transfer from FK Suduva to FC Ilves conducted? How different are the negotiations from the Middle East compared to Europe?
Now this is my first season in Finland with FC Ilves, and the transfer came immediately after they watched the videos of my performance with Suduva. I was a free agent, which made the transfer smoother.
How did you adjust and adapt to the new countries you play in?
The beginning is always tough, the manager, the coaches, the players and public are watching closely. This is why it’s very important to prove your presence in the training and to show your talent to gain the respect of everyone. And then during the matches you should help the team win so you can win the love of the people of the city in which you play. After that, everything becomes easier.
Ilves have just been promoted to the top tier in Finland, what has your manager indicated as objectives to consolidate the team in the first division? What are your objectives in Europe?
Ilves’s purpose is to stay in the first division, while my personal goal is to move up to a better league theway i moved from Lithuania to Finland. The Finnish league is ranked higher than the Lithuanian by 10 ranks, according to Fifa.
You only could make the bench for one of Suduva’s games in the Europa League last season. What makes European games so special, even when you’re watching from the bench?
The Europa league qualifications always have a special taste that allows you to be in touch with other leagues and other styles of playing, and this is very important.
How are tactics and formations like in the areas you played in? How do they differ from Lebanon?
The privileges offered to the manager here are larger, so this normally means better work. Plus, here every line in the team has its own coach, whose job is to focus on every player and improve the details of his performance, which allows the player to improve much faster
Let’s talk about the Lebanese National team. The “professional” players have not been called up yet [the players outside of Lebanon], do you aim to play with Lebanon in the upcoming qualifiers?
The national team is yet to contact me, but i am always ready to represent my country, it’s an honor for any player.
Who have been your main helpers towards your goals? Did you speak with Dodo Yousef Mohammad or Roda Antar about their time in Europe?
My two brothers are the ones who helped me be where i am now, they looked over my career from its very beginning.
No i haven’t contacted Lebanese players abroad concerning their experience, but they are normally the role model for any Lebanese player, and i am doing my best to follow in their footsteps. However, the national team maybe helped them reach this far, which is something i haven’t yet. The national team has not helped me in my career yet, although it has helped other young Lebanese players.
Which Lebanese players have you kept in touch with over the last few years?
I have been in touch with Ali Fahes, a player who shared me my best days in Nejmeh, as well Mohamad “Aiker” Markabawi who enjoys a great talent.
Do you have any final words for the Lebanese footballing fan base watching on?
For the Lebanese fans, i thank them very much for their care, and for their efforts to demand me on the national team. I hope i will always make them proud.