• Asian Cup
  • 29 December 2018

Abdullah al-Daa'ee … He Wore Golden Gloves that paved the Way for "Glory"

When the event is at the continent level, and when the path is filled with serious confrontations between giants, then appropriate preparation coupled with “dreams” and strength become a must. This was the experience that the national team had in its first task in Singapore 1984.

The first appearance of the green-shirted team was preceded by a work that covered all details, the smallest as well as the most obvious. Legendary Goalkeeper Abdullah Al-Daa'ee talked about this: "The preparation was different and it was monitored by the then Head of Youth Welfare, Prince Faisal bin Fahd, and all members of the Saudi Arabian Football Federation."

He added: "There was an unprecedented moral support, which made us feel patriotically responsible in this tournament". Al-Daa'ee and his teammates could not get rid of the fear of the National Team's first participation in the Asian Nations. They were well aware that representing the nation in such an important forum would lead the national football to a new stage; to the top, even though it is more difficult than anything else.

Al-Daa'ee recalls: "In a difficult task like this, you need more effort. We are engaged in a new experience in which we will compete with the greatest and most distinguished teams in the continent. It is not normal at all."

The slim goalkeeper gathered his physical and mental strength. He was an impenetrable block in front of the goal, and defended it with memorable courage. He continued to shine in one contest after another, until the most important one against Iran in the semi-finals, in which he managed to block the fourth kick of the Iranians, paving the way to the first final by Fahd Al-Mesaibih shooting his ball into the net to announce the green-shirted team's arrival to China and crowning thereafter.

The brave goalkeeper does not forget those memory-filled days. He recalls a call in the Asian Championship in 1988, when the title-holder National Team participated in the tournament. He said: "We do not forget the constant communication from the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Fahd bin Abdul Aziz, throughout our participation and after every game, and his direct talk and motivation. He talked to each player in person. We received wonderful words that pushed us forward to a new dream."

With steady steps, the green-shirted team, armed with the champion's strength and having gone through the challenges firmly, put their feet on the field of the final match against South Korea. The match was extended to penalty shots, and surely Abdullah Al-Daa'ee had an immortal footprint, preventing Korea from scoring the last shot when he successfully blocked the ball, followed by another success, i.e. Fahad Al-Harifi's shot, making the National Team the champion of the Asian Cup for the second time in a row.

Recalling another chapter of the golden story, Al-Daa'ee said: "A goalkeeper has roles and tasks, and perhaps the most difficult of them is penalty shootout. I knew that everyone was trusting me. I remembered, while I was in the middle of the posts, that people were stuck in front of screens, and that a reaction of me may bring in joy, and thank God I did it".

He added: "I do not forget the praise of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Fahd bin Abdulaziz, taking pride in our achievement and specially talked about the best goalkeeper achievement by a speech that he – May God have mercy on him – delivered before the US President Reagan, when he said: "We brought the greatest cups in the continent; the tournament memorabilia, and the best goalkeeper award."

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