Doha: Wagner Ribeiro played an instrumental role in Al Sailiya’s good run in the opening phase of QNB Stars League as they finished it in a creditable fourth position with 19 points. The attacking midfielder is having his best season in Qatar.
The affable player, known for his gentle behaviour on and off the field, was adjudged second behind Al Duhail’s Youssef Msakni, by the Qatar Stars League’s (QSL) statistics provider Stats company recently based on his overall ratings in 10 of the 11 matches he played in the league. That he made the achievement despite being plagued by a foot injury in some games makes it all the more delightful.
Al Sailiya suffered defeat at the hands of Al Ahli in Week 10 and played out a draw with Al Duhail but are still in the top four halfway through the season.
In an exclusive interview with QSL Online during their short winter camp at the Aspire Zone, Wagner, who has scored eight goals thus far, spoke about his outstanding time with Al Sailiya, coach Trabelsi, and his stints at Al Arabi and erstwhile El Jaish.
How do you feel playing for Al Sailiya, your fourth team in Qatar?
It feels good to be in a team like Al Sailiya. I’ve found my rhythm and am enjoying the moments. There’re a lot of good people around. The coach (Sami Trabelsi) and all staff give me a lot of freedom on the pitch.
In football, you never do anything alone. Offensively, I’m at complete liberty to do anything I want to. But defensively, I’m supposed to do the job I’m entrusted with. I also like it that way.
How good is the support you get from team-mates?
My colleagues are helping me a lot and I wish we continue in the same way and with the same mentality. You don’t find a selfish player in Al Sailiya. Everyone does his job perfectly and it’s so far so good from the team’s point of view. The team spirit is high and that makes us a fighting unit.
How do you see Al Sailiya’s performance in the QNB Stars League’s first phase?
I don’t think Al Sailiya had ever reached a point when performance, stability and results all aligned. The feel-good factor is there in the team camp. We’re the best side after the top three (Al Duhail, Al Sadd and Al Rayyan), and we want to build on that. We played a steady game, except in the last two matches, and we deserved to be there.
How do you look forward to the second phase?
We’re working hard during this break. We take it game by game and are trying to give our maximum on the field. We want to make our results talk for our efforts. I don’t have any personal target, but I’m sure we would finish in the top four going by the present form and potential. I would proudly say this is my golden season in Qatar.
How did you feel after being named the second-best in QSL ratings?
I felt great. I never once entered the field targeting personal goals. I’m so happy about it and that gives me more motivation as we launch our campaign in the league’s next stage.
How is it playing under Trabelsi?
He is a shrewd tactician who has been with the side for long. He gives and takes respect. He’s one of the reasons I find Al Sailiya as a different team.
How do you rate your previous clubs in Qatar?
Al Ahli opened the doors for me in Qatar football. That was a good exposure for me. I can never forget the time I played there.
Before representing Al Arabi for half a season, it was a pleasure to have been plying my trade for erstwhile El Jaish. I would like to specially mention the unstinted support that I received there, over a period of five years, from HE Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad Al Thani, Dr Thani Abdulrahman Al Kuwari and Saeed Al Misnad.