Abu Dhabi: Majid Nasser was the goalkeeper who helped the UAE win the 2007 Gulf Cup and he also he led his former club, Al Wasl, to win the double the same season.
But Nasser, who succeeded many times in keeping his net clean, failed on some occasions to keep his cool and he set a suspension record for a local player when he was banned for 11 matches in 2008 for attacking an assistant referee, and then last season’s 17-match-ban for slapping Spanish coach Quique Sanchez Flores and spitting on Al Ahli captain Yousuf Mohammad following the Al Ahli vs Al Wasl derby.
But Nasser, amazingly, was still bought by Al Ahli and, after serving his suspension, he seemed more mature and less temperamental, trying to avoid clashes with both opponents and referees.
His first league match against his former club last week was a scene of unsporting behaviour and attempts at intimidation from both the fans of Al Wasl and their former custodian.
The fans began the feud by raising their shoes to the player and shouting insults when he came to the pitch to warm up. But while nobody expects the fans to behave in a professional fashion, the goalkeeper did not show sympathy towards his former club, who are going through their worst ever campaign, and his celebrations for each of the four goals Al Ahli scored was exaggerated and did not help to contain the fury of the fans. The supporters tried to attack him after the match and two of them successfully jumped over the fence and entered the ground, only to be caught by stadium security after one had thrown an Al Wasl scarf on to Nasser’s head and the other exchanged insults with the keeper.
But Nasser, in a gesture of goodwill and forgiving, went after the match to the police station and released both fans from custody.
“I owe a great deal to Al Wasl and their fans and I am sure that not all of them tried to insult or attack me. I do hope that they come to understand that in professional football all players shift from one club to another and I do hope that they will overcome the dark tunnel they are going through at the moment because Al Wasl is one of the UAE’s biggest clubs,” he said.
And while the conflict between Nasser and the fans of his former club came to a happy ending, his new club, Al Ahli, complained officially to the Pro League Committee about the behaviour of the Al Wasl fans, especially as there were some former Al Ahli players who were playing for Al Wasl in the same match — namely Achille Emana and Hassan Ali Ebrahim — who the Al Ahli fans did not show any disrespect.