The Arab Afro-man footballer redefined. A left foot star in the making. A fairer version of a Fellaini look alike (only facially). The one to take over the what was created by the likes of Adnan Al Talyani and Ismael Mattar. The pride of UAE football and I assume to a certain extent, Middle Eastern football, after the Omani GK Ali Al-Habsi.
Omar Abdul Rahman Ahmed Al Raaki Al Amoodi was born amidst humble environment in the Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadh in 1991.
Like many of the expat children (Omar is originally from Yemen), back then and currently; he grew up playing on the streets. After being noticed by a local scout at a very young age, he was invited to join one of Saudi Arabia’s most esteemed clubs – Al Hilal. The club offered to apply for Saudi citizenship on his behalf, but he ended up rejecting it on the basis that the club could only offer him and not his family citizenship.
Former Saudi international, Sami Al Jaber, the man who was revered for his loyalty to Al Hilal, acting as a scout for UAE based Al Ain club, heard about the situation surrounding Omar. He quickly mobilized his contacts at Al Ain and was able to kick off initial discussions on bringing him to the club. Al Ain, recognizing his talents along with those of his elder brothers – Mohammed and Khalid, offered him and his entire family Emirati citizenship. And it kicked off from there.
It only took him an year to break into the first team at Al Ain after joining them in 2008 under the guidance of German coach, Winfried Schafer. Omar had not stopped mesmerizing the fans since then.
It is quite obvious that he shot up in fame at last year’s Summer Olympics having played a significant impact in UAE U-23’s qualification for it’s first ever stint at the games. His performances during the games drew large-scale praises from players and media, alike. And soon after, unsurprisingly, Manchester City came knocking in with a two-week trial offer for the talented 21-year-old. As it currently stands, the Manchester club is still interested in securing his services.
But is he worth all that?
Having personally watched him display his uniqueness, a few times, to a mostly lackluster Emirati style of play, he does provide a remedy to sore eyes.
His left foot and its capability – is new to the Arab world. The ability to hold the ball, skip past quick attacks while on possession and envision the movement of his teammates before they actually make the move is incredible.
However, his style of play befits that of an Italian or a Spanish style of play, wherein an average footballer would get enough time on the ball from when a pass is received to mentally visualizing the play through. An English game would probably land him in the injury list for majority of the time in the league. He has not been given a glimpse of the physicality of the English, here in the UAE. His average opposition in the UAE pro league usually ends up giving him a lot of room and time to create.
Predominantly holding the ball on his left foot does not help his case either. A less-than-intelligent opposing player can pick up on that to make sure that Omar keeps the ball on his right. Tapes of his performances at the Asian Champion League games this season strongly justify the above analysis.
But when that ball reaches his left foot within the tenth of a second, look forward to some stunning through or long balls, an incredible level of successful short combinations and an innate penchant for goals.
A Silva-esque type of a player, just a few inches taller, given the right guidance could be molded into a top footballer at the Asian level at least, if not global.