Captain of the Field

Qatar’s football champion speaks about his life as a professional player


At just 28 years old, Hassan Khalid Hassan Al-Hydos can already boast of 20 years of experience on the football field. However, having started playing the game as a young eight-year-old, he experienced some challenges.

“My parents initially objected to my involvement in the sport, at least until I completed my studies, but I convinced them that I could balance both sports and my studies,” he says.

The years of training have paid off for the young star, both personally and professionally. He attributes a lot of his personal traits and passion for football to his early days playing at Al Sadd Sports Club.

“I spent a large part of my childhood at Al Sadd Sports Club, and my upbringing is a result of what I learned there. My interactions at the Club not only provided me with a lot of life lessons, but they also kept me away from problems and undesirable things. I feel that I gained a lot from my childhood experience compared to most people,” he says.

The striker, who belongs to Al Sadd Sports Club as well as Qatar’s national football team–in which he serves as captain–came upon the sport by chance. “I was initially really keen on tennis. When some members of my tennis team invited me to play football one day, I decided to give it a go. One thing led to another, and my skills in football kept improving,” he says.

It has been a life changing experience for Al-Hydos.

He made his international career debut in the 2008 Summer Olympic Qualifiers, scoring a number of impressive goals against Japan, Saudi Arabia, and Vietnam. He also played a prominent role at the 2012 Summer Olympic Qualifiers which gave Qatar a chance to qualify for the Olympics. That year’s Man of The Match award went to him.

On the club front, Al-Hydos is best remembered for his penalty shootout in the 2011 AFC Champions League that ultimately earned Al Sadd Sports Club a place in the FIFA Club World Cup as the representative for Asia.

His many accolades include: Best Qatari Player (2014), Most Promising Player (2008), and Player of the Year (2015).

“I am very proud of these achievements, especially the Player of the Year award in 2015. This award means a lot to me, because everyone in the team played a role in it. I am very pleased to be the second Qatari player to receive this award,” he says.

Al-Hydos spends his days doting on his daughter and training on the field. “My day is very ordinary. I take my daughter to school, then spend time with my wife. I’m a typical family man, except that when the sun sets, I’m off for training at the Club with other team members,” he says.

Al-Hydos is a firm believer in the transformational power of sports, and he says that his desire to represent Qatar and strive for personal achievement is what keeps him going.

“I believe that sports in general, contributes a lot to a person’s life. It helps distance a person from what harms him, yet brings him closer to what benefits him. Sports improves the health of both the mind and body,” says Al-Hydos.

To aspiring football players, Al-Hydos has this to say: “Do not let anyone discourage you, and be determined to overcome all obstacles. Set a goal in life, and try to reach it, always balancing between studies and sports.”