Boualem Khoukhi, one of the most prominent defenders on the domestic and Asian football circuit, is one of the key players in Xavi's Al Sadd outfit as well as the Qatar national team.
Boualem, a member of the Qatar squad that won the 2019 AFC Asian Cup, is continuing to have a huge impact on Al Sadd in their QNB Stars League matches and is a towering presence at the back when he is in his best form.
In an interview with www.qsl.qa ahead of their 2021 Qatar Cup final against Al Duhail which will be played tomorrow, the 30-year-old said that Al Sadd will do their best to defend the title.
"It’s a strong and important tournament for us. The best four teams from last season are part of it. We thank God for our recent victory over Al Rayyan in the semi-final," Boualem said.
He said the semi-final was a tough game like all Cup matches.
"Al Rayyan were a side that we faced with ferocity. But we succeeded in the last minute to score the winning goal through Santi Cazorla. It was a tough semi-final befitting the name of the two teams in addition to the presence of fans, who added to the excitement levels at the venue," Boualem said.
"We’re expecting a strong match as the two teams include most of the first-team players of Qatar. So, it’ll be a great summit and we have to do our best to win and defend the title. I’m looking forward to winning the tournament," the Qatari said.
Boualem also noted that Cup matches are different from league fixtures.
"It’s possible to play and not win, so we must be careful and play with great balance between defence and attack to get the win," he said.
"Our first goal is to win and retain the Cup at Al Sadd’s trophy cabinet. God Willing, Al Sadd will be the champions of this edition of Qatar Cup," Boualem said.
He said that Al Sadd are very much familiar with Al Duhail.
"We know Al Duhail players very well. We had beaten them in the league this season in both legs and our weapon will be to remain focused in the final in order to win. The Al Duhail team includes many outstanding players and they play as one unit, so we’ll face them as one team as well," Boualem said.
He said that the outcome of the matches don't always turn out in favour of predictions.
"Football doesn’t reason with pre-match predictions. We have to work and prepare well for the match. And then, we have to play hard and fight on the field to win the Cup. We won four championships last season and we’re seeking to repeat the same achievement this season by also winning the QNB Stars League, the Qatar Cup and the Amir Cup. We also want to compete strongly in the AFC Champions League," Boualem added.