The Wanderers have welcomed back winger Abd-El-Aziz Yousef to Halifax after he was part of a memorable world cup campaign for Somalia.
The 19-year-old made his international debut for the Ocean Stars against Zimbabwe in what turned out to be the country’s first ever win in a world cup qualifier.
“It was an amazing feeling to be there and represent my country and it was unbelievable to be part of history,” Yousef said.
The Wanderers player made the break from midfield in the build up that led to Somalia’s winning goal in the first leg which ended 1-0.
“Stephen (Hart) always says you have to take leadership and as soon as I got the ball I was trying to make something happen and I cut inside and took the guy on and my teammate crossed the ball and it was headed home,” he said.
The young prospect believes he got the call up because the Canadian Premier League is making headlines around the world in its inaugural season.
‘He did some good stuff and he can only grow’
The second leg against Zimbabwe was heartbreaking for Somalia though, who conceded two late goals to lose 3-1, meaning their hopes of reaching the world cup group stages are now over.
Wanderers coach Stephen Hart thinks Yousef will be a better player from the experience.
“There were moments when he picked up the ball and he did some good stuff and he can only grow. He’s young and he will have to take away from it what is required to play at the international and professional level,” Hart said.
Yousef, who was born in Saudi Arabia and grew up in Vancouver, qualifies for Somalia through his mother who was born in Mogadishu.
He spoke about how she was thrilled to hear he would represent her home country.
“She was very happy and told me to go for it,” he said. “Nobody thought we could compete but now the whole nation is talking about us. I want to build on this and grow as a person and a player.”