Akram Afif, born in Doha in 1996, embodies more than just a Qatari footballer; he is a symbol of his nation’s burgeoning aspirations on the international football scene. From his early days at the Aspire Academy to his current prominence with Al Sadd and the Qatar national team, Afif’s journey underscores dedication, innate talent, and an unwavering passion for the beautiful game.
Afif showcased his magic during the Asian Cup, particularly in the final against Jordan, where he not only propelled Qatar to a 1-0 lead but also mesmerized with his celebratory prowess. His sixth tournament goal, scored from the penalty spot at Lusail Stadium after a first-half foul, tied him with Iraq’s Aymen Hussein as the leading scorer.
In the 2023 AFC Asian Cup, Afif clinched the Golden Boot and Most Valuable Player awards for his remarkable eight goals. His exceptional performance was pivotal as Qatar secured a thrilling victory, aiming for back-to-back titles after their 2019 triumph.
Born on November 18, 1996, in Doha, Qatar, Afif inherits his footballing legacy from his father, Hassan, who originated from Yemen and made his mark in Somalia before moving to Qatar. Hassan’s journey, transitioning from player to manager with teams like Al-Gharafa and Al-Markhiya, influenced Afif’s passion for the sport.
Afif’s development at the Aspire Academy honed his skills, showcasing pace, dribbling prowess, and lethal finishing. Loan stints at Eupen in Belgium and Villarreal in Spain exposed him to diverse styles and competitions, with his return to Al Sadd in 2018 marking a turning point that saw him lead his team to Qatari Stars League titles in 2021 and 2023.
His impact extends beyond club level, playing a crucial role in Qatar’s historic 2019 AFC Asian Cup win and netting the winning goal in the 2023 FIFA Arab Cup final. A key figure in his team’s FIFA World Cup journey, hosted in Doha, Afif is not just a national hero but also an inspiration to young Arab footballers.
While European clubs express interest, Afif remains committed to guiding Qatar to greater heights, proving that talent and dedication can transcend cultural boundaries and achieve success on the global stage.