What may sound like a great National Day celebratory week away from home was actually a gruelling five-day athletic and academic boot camp. In addition to being homesick, Abdulla, perhaps for the first time, was matched and surpassed in individual skill.
As he spent day and night being trained by professional football players, his focus became even more resolute.
“He came back very different,” said Marzooq. “He was focussed and disciplined. He saw what he could accomplish if he put his entire heart, body and soul into his training and that has driven him to even greater heights.”
Seeing his talent, Berlitz, the leading language training academy in Bahrain decided to sponsor six levels of English Language courses to build his academic profile.
Abdulla, a Juventus FC fan, has continued his journey under the careful guidance of his father as well as former professional Serbian footballer and current coach Mladen Jovancic, who was quick to note that our presence would make the other children jealous.
Marzooq said: “We like to talk to him about this from time to time. He has got a lot of attention very early in his life. We don’t want that going to his head. We want him to stay humble, no matter how far he goes.”
Teamwork, which was one of his challenges when he began, is something he has mastered both on and off the field, where he turns back into a regular child who loves video games, hanging out with his friends and competing with his siblings from time to time.
Albinmohammed added: “I treat him like the other youngsters on the field. It has been challenging teaching him to play his part in a team, but since Valencia, he knows how much more powerful a well-oiled machine is, compared to just a few spare parts.”
As for the star himself, Abdulla, who constantly tries to punch above his weight, aims to join the Bahrain National Team. “I want to start for the National Team, as their forward,” he said.
The GulfWeekly team is eager to see Abdulla play forward or mid-fielder for the national team and as he works the programme to scale new heights supported by those inspired by his story, we wish him and his family the best of luck.