Al Dhafra striker Makhete Diop merits a shot on the grandest stage says Saif Mohammed

Matt Jones - Editor 22:51 18/07/2016
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Dhafra’s dangerman: Makhete Diop (l) has terorrised defences in the UAE.

Diop arrived in the Emirates in January 2012 from Syrian Premier League side Al Karamah in a €300,000 (Dh1.2m) deal.

The 6ft 1in forward has been an unqualified success in the Western Region, netting more than 100 goals for Dhafra in his four campaigns – including an incredible tally of 26 in 32 Arabian Gulf League and Arabian Gulf Cup games in 2013/14.

During the last two seasons he is the joint sixth-highest goalscorer in the top flight with 25 strikes, behind only Al Wahda’s Sebastian Tagliabue (40), Al Jazira’s Ali Mabkhout (39), Al Wasl’s Fabio De Lima (36), Sharjah’s Wanderley (32) and Al Jazira’s former Juventus star Mirko Vucinic (27).

Although Diop renewed his Dhafra contract earlier this month, his ex-colleague Mohammed feels the 27-year-old hotshot is destined for bigger and better things.

“He deserves to be in a better team. I wish him good luck for the future if he leaves,” said the 32-year-old left-back, who himself ended a four-year spell with the Western Knights this summer by signing for relegated Al Shaab.

“I hope for him to be in a good team, he deserves it. Dhafra have a great professional who has been with them for four years. He is every day working. I have seen him do amazing things, he has scored so many goals in four years. I don’t look at him just as a professional footballer, he is one of my brothers. He’s a captain and he leads.”

In the transient environment of domestic UAE football where players and coaches come and go, Dhafra are notorious for retaining players for the duration of their contracts.

Diop will not be on the move this summer after the club confirmed on July 4 he had renewed his contract, but Mohammed feels Diop should be rewarded for his loyalty.

“Diop is the kind of player who respects himself off the field even more than he does on it. He’s a very good guy,” added the former UAE international.

“For the last two years he has received many contracts from other clubs, good clubs. If he stays good luck but if he goes, he deserves it.

“It is now time for him to be playing for a team winning championships, to be rewarded.

“I hope for him a good future, either with Dhafra or without Dhafra. He has been loyal.”

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