Ali Mabkhout: words cannot tell you how happy or how proud I am

Al Jazira striker fires a hat-trick in 5-0 World Cup qualifier victory against Indonesia to become the UAE’s all-time leading goalscorer

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Ali Mabkhout said words could not describe his pride at becoming the UAE’s all-time leading goalscorer, but vowed not to stop there following his record-breaking feat.

The Al Jazira striker fired a hat-trick in the 5-0 victory in the World Cup qualifier against Indonesia in Dubai on Thursday, taking his tally for the national team to 54.

With it, he surpassed Adnan Al Talyani at the top of the overall scoring charts – a mark that had stood for 22 years.

However, Mabkhout admitted immediately after the match at Al Maktoum Stadium that there was some confusion as to how many career goals he had scored exactly for the national team.

“I’m so proud, I’m so happy and I will continue to score and help my team,” said the forward, who also notched both goals in the 2-1 win in last month’s Group G opener against Malaysia. “They just told me I am the best one now, but everyone tells me a [different] number. I don’t know exactly what the number is.

“For sure, I cannot tell you how happy or how proud I am. But the big importance is the team won. However, this achievement makes me a better player and encourages me to score more and more. It will not be enough for me.”

Mabkhout’s next opportunity to add to his haul comes on Tuesday, when the UAE face Thailand at the Thammasat Stadium, on the outskirts of Bangkok. There, Bert van Marwijk’s men will look to make it three wins from three to begin Group G.

“We don’t think about the other team,” Mabkhout said. “We think only about us. It is a good start for us and for the coach.”