Archive for the ‘The Victory Boys: Player Profiles’ Category

PLAYER PROFILE: Faris, dinky dynamo

Despite being the same age as the rest of The Victory Boys, the player who stands out head and shoulders below his team-mates is Faris!

With blistering pace as his chief weapon, Faris is always desperate to get onto the field, but has to be content with a position among the substitutes.

Faris: dynamic and determined!

Born to an English mother and a Syrian father, Faris tries hard to assert himself. He’s very conscious of the difference in size between himself and the other Shabab, but believes he can make a real contribution to the team, if only given the chance…

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PLAYER PROFILE: Ibrahim, prolific poacher

You can’t win a game without goals, and for The Victory Boys there’s no one more accustomed to doing just that than Ibrahim!

The irrepressible Ibrahim. Occasionally outspoken. Often unstoppable.

Known at madrasa for his quick wit and ready opinions (which aren’t always too well received – just ask Imam Munieb!), on the pitch Ibrahim is certainly blessed with an eye for goal.

The Victory Boys have the greatest respect both for him and his striking prowess, even if his instinctive style doesn’t hit the target every time. (Unfortunately, whether going for goal or opening his mouth, Ibrahim is often known to shoot first and think later!)

An example of Ibrahim choosing the wrong moment to open his mouth...

PLAYER PROFILE: Captain Khalid

Every team needs a strong leader. Someone who sets an example. Someone who can pick everyone up when they’re down. Someone with an unquenchable thirst for success. Without doubt, in The Victory Boys, that leader is Khalid!

Khalid - in one of his tougher times!

A self-styled Libyan lion, Khalid’s fiercely determined nature doesn’t always make for things running smoothly – but more often than not The Victory Boys are indebted to him for his contributions. Not least when he shows a bit of quick thinking at free-kicks… (see Chapter 12 for more on that!)

PLAYER PROFILE: Junayd, tigerish tackler

Meet the (Bengal) tiger of the midfield – and star of The Victory Boys front cover! – Junayd!

Junayd: timid and tenacious rolled into one

He may have a useful family connection in the The Victory Boys set-up, but rest assured that Junayd’s selection is purely on merit. His tigerish tackling and considerable coverage of the pitch means that his opposite number is never afforded the luxury of time on the ball.

By contrast, he’s a fairly quiet and straightforward young man off the pitch, and some would say he only ever finds himself in the most minor of trouble – usually due to his association with livewire team-mate Ibrahim!

On occasions, Junayd appears to be somewhat troubled. Find out why, and whether his situation improves, by reading the book!

PLAYER PROFILE: Hasan, staunch stopper

If it’s true that behind every successful man, there’s a good woman… (am I on safe ground with this post?)… it’s probably also true that behind every stingy defence, there’s a formidable goalkeeper.

Meet the Victory Boy who neighbour of the mosque Mr Bateman describes as “the new Gordon Banks” (that’s “Gordon Bennett” if you listen to Imam Munieb…), Hasan!

Hasan, heroic handler

The son of a Libyan father and an English mother, Hasan distinguishes himself throughout the book with some crucial – nay impossible – saves! Otherwise a relatively unassuming sort of chap, Hasan lets his performances between the sticks do the talking.

See this link for an example of Hasan’s heroics from Chapter 14 of the book.

PLAYER PROFILE: Ali, wing wonder

In every era, there always seems to have been a winger who can induce in the football fan a state of true excitement (or equivalent loathing and/or fear if he happens to play for your deadly rivals…)
Matthews… Best… Giggs… and now, Ali!

Ali, wing wonder

Born locally to Iraqi parents, Ali is every young defender’s nightmare. To have quick feet is one thing; to have a quick mind with it is a lethal combination. Add that to a fearsome shot and the ability to pull out a tantalising cross at will (as readers will soon discover) and it’s clear why Ali is a key component of The Victory Boys.

Check out this link for an excerpt of one of Ali’s finer moments (but not his finest!) from Chapter 9 of the book.