I don’t know how many people remember Abdullah Al-Moussawi or know who he is but two years ago a video popped up on YouTube of this young charismatic Kuwaiti 9 year old playing football against older kids and outplaying them. He had long curly hair and people were saying he was the next Maradonna and watching the video above you could understand why. Well anyway a reader emailed me a story about Abdullah he wanted to share, it’s kinda long but it’s interesting to read.
The story talks about how a talent scout in Holland saw Abdullah’s video on YouTube and came to Kuwait to watch him live. Abdullah was then given an opportunity to go to Holland and compete in a few trials where he proved to be extremely talented and one of the top young players they had ever seen. He was then accepted into one of the best football academy’s on a scholarship without any binding contracts or strings attached. Problem was Abdullah couldn’t move to Holland without his family so they asked for help from Kuwaiti officials who agreed which prompted the family to move with Abdullah to Holland so he could attend school there and join the football academy. They even made a documentary about Abdullah which was broadcasted on Dutch TV and also screened in the Gulf Film Festival held in Dubai last year (promo clip above). Problem is Kuwait never ended up helping out and so the parents were forced to move back to Kuwait after 2 months with Abdullah ending what could have been an incredible experience for him.
That’s basically a quick summary but I recommend you read the full story. It’s very sad how Abdullah was extremely popular and big in the Dutch media while no one gave him any attention locally. It’s also sad how things turned out in the end and I wonder how Abdullah is doing right now. Check the full story below.
A successful youth player in the strongest Dutch Youth Competition.
My name is Marcel and I’m not a special person. Maybe you could best describe me as an ordinary Dutch citizen with a special interest in football. More specifically in young talented players. The football stars of the next generation.
Only a few times in the last 30 years did I see such an extraordinary talented player as Abdullah Al-Moussawi from Kuwait. Initially not at the pitch, but at a clip on YouTube.
I know from experience that in a clip only the best actions of a player are shown, so after my first impression I made contact with the father of Abdullah Al-Moussawi in order to make an appointment to watch him play ‘live’. Only 2 days later I was in Kuwait and became convinced that Abdullah was something special. Though only 9 years at that time (2008), it was undeniable that he had already the basic skills to make a serious chance of becoming one of the first Arabic player to make it at the top in one of the European football leagues. But only 9 years old…
Back home in Holland I received many calls from clubs in- and out of Holland, who all were asking me if he was really as good as in the –meanwhile famous- clip on YouTube. I only could confirm that and went back to Kuwait to spend more time with his family and have further discussions with his father regarding the possibilities of attending some trials in Europe. We agreed on going to Holland first where Abdullah (a.k.a. Sayed in Europe) did a trial at the Feyenoord / Excelsior football academy. An academy where Robin van Persie (Arsenal), Salomon Kalou (Chelsea), Royston Drenthe (Real Madrid – playing for Hercules CF), El Hamdaoui (Ajax) and many other professional players were students once. A few months later we went to Manchester United. Abdullah did again very well and was even able to play the famous Ryan Davies out of the match. So far all the professional coaches recognized his amazing talent.
During one of my visits to Kuwait I was accompanied by a Dutch film crew. They followed Abdullah at his training sessions, but also outside playing as a normal young boy. The documentary, which was also filmed in Holland, was broadcasted on Dutch National television and was screened in Dubai at the Gulf Film Festival 2009. Not only the television, but also all the newspapers in Holland were enthusiastic and honored him with his nickname ‘Sayed, the Pearl of Arabia’.
Sayed got the chance he deserved. He was invited to attend the Feyenoord / Excelsior football academy. A unique opportunity to develop his skills also in one of the best youth leagues in Europe. Of course there were a lot of arrangements to make, but in Holland the expectations were high and he was more then welcome. Without any contract, money or whatsoever involved. The possibility of coaching such an amazing talent was a challenge for all the coaches.
Unfortunately I had to travel again a few times to Kuwait just to speak with high ranked officials of the Public Authority of Youth and Sport. Even though they were very friendly, it was impossible to book any positive result. It surprised me that the whole case, which by that time was already known all over Holland and part of Europe, seemed totally new to them. As if they were confronted with this small ‘phenomenal player’ for the first time. I couldn’t understand that cause the agenda for the meeting was already determined for some time.
After that disappointing meeting a Member of Parliament got involved and we had a nice meeting in which I convinced him that Abdullah would also receive a very good school education in Holland. He committed himself to our common goal and invited me to meet a Minister the next morning at 9AM. The reception was cordial and after exchanging formalities, the MP tried to explain the Minister the reason of my visit. The conversation turned over in Arabic, so I couldn’t understand anymore what was said. The meeting wasn’t long and after a short while I was already in the car again with the MP driving back to my hotel. After he dropped me at the front of the hotel, he told me to come to a meeting place in the afternoon, where I should have an interview with a local television. At that moment he still hadn’t told me how the Ministers’ reaction was regarding the proposal. From his face and the way he talked to the father of Abdullah who was sitting in the backseat, I didn’t have a good feeling. But, as said, we got another chance. This time with the help of the media.
At a local football academy I was interviewed by the local satellite TV station. The interviewer, who had really no idea about sport, asked me where I came from. From Holland, I answered him. ‘Oh, yeah’,- he replied. ‘Drugs and prostitutes’ – he added with a dirty look. Nice start, I thought, but because of the situation I decided not to explain to him that this was a really short-sighted opinion. Especially not because of the dirty and rejecting look on his face. Not a good start to begin with I thought. But I still hoped I was wrong. ‘Don’t judge a book by the cover’ my mother told me once. This time she was wrong.
It was the most ‘interesting’ interview I ever did on television. I was glad it wasn’t broadcasted in Holland too although a lot of Arabs living there watch this Kuwaiti TV station they recognized me when I returned to Holland. For a long time I kept wondering what their opinion was about the interview but untill now I’m still too embarrassed to ask. After this agony I was told that the interview would be a part of a program in which the highest Minister would announce that Kuwait was prepared to help Abdullah in the best way they could.
Yes! I had to suffer but the final result was there. I was happy for Kuwait, Abdullah and his family, the football sport and also a little bit for myself. Mission completed and I went home.
August 4th the family came to Holland. It was great news and the newspapers had a photo of Abdullah on the front-page with the text: “The Pearl of Kuwait”. Abdullah started at the academy and was quickly accepted as ‘one of the boys’ of his team. He could soon became an important player in the competition and his team. Without doubt he had still a lot to learn, but nobody doubted his talent.
Abdullah and his family liked their new environment. For how long? We will never know, cause already after two months it became obvious that the family didn’t have much to expect of all the promises that were made. It seemed that in Kuwait nobody really cared anymore about Abdullah, who could have become their greatest football player in history.
Personally I went to the Embassy of Kuwait in the Hague, accompanied by the father of Abdullah and a journalist. Again we were warmly welcomed but once outside again, we realized that all our efforts were in vain. The family had really nothing to expect from Kuwait.
Staying in a far and strange country is very hard if not impossible without suitable help. The family became more and more desperate and after 4 months they decided to go home. I couldn’t blame them. Even if I could, which wasn’t the case cause there were no contracts, no (money) obligations or whatsoever, I wouldn’t even try to stop them. The unbearable stress the family had to live in was not good for Abdullah and his two sisters. In the end going back to Kuwait was the only option left.
For all those who still have doubts regarding the divers motivations; all who were involved have lost. Wasted time, trust, money and above all – the future of may be the most talented Kuwaiti football player ever. Unfortunately its most unlikely that we’ll never know what Abdullah could have achieved for Kuwait.
I’m really very sorry for Kuwait. A country which I still love very much.
Update: If anyone needs to contact with Abdullah’s family you can email me [Here] and I will forward it to them.