When Mohammad Almohjili scored at the 77th minute of the finals of the UAAP Season 81 Men’s Football Tournament, the championship looked to return to De La Salle University-Manila’s storied halls for the first time since 1998.
However, the contest became a tragic lesson in game management for the DLSU Men’s Football Team after eventual champions, Ateneo de Manila University, overturned a one-goal deficit to win the title, 2-1, at the historic Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila, last May 16, 2019.
The result was a bitter pill to swallow for Almohjili and his teammates, but life always goes on and more than a week after the match, the neophyte shares his thoughts on La Salle’s last campaign and what the future holds for him and the squad.
Now that the season is over, what are your reflections from the bittersweet campaign?
The journey was just like a movie, and unlike every movie, we had the sad ending, and that’s what the people see, but for me and the team, it’s just the start for us. Having 13 rookies to reach the finals, and to prove to not just the media and the others but most importantly ourselves we are up for whoever we are against because we’ve got each other’s backs and we have a common objective to achieve.
The loss in the finals aside, it was a successful season for the DLSU MFT. You played a key role with an assist in the semi-finals and a goal in the finals. How do you feel about that?
First and foremost, I am very proud to represent De La Salle and its community and my Family. Having the name De La Salle on my chest and Almohjili on my back is already one achievement for me.
As I said at the start of the season I will always try my best to contribute each and every game for the team. Another feeling personally is that I feel satisfied but still the fire for getting the gold medal hasn’t turned off
Amidst the post-season campaign of DLSU, you had to fast due to it coinciding with Ramadan. How did it feel like to play under such physical conditions? Did you feel that it was easy to fit in the school and the team as a Muslim?
First of all, in La Salle Men’s Football Team, we always say we have each other’s back, not just inside the field but also outside, we consider ourselves brothers, and have one goal to achieve,
I deeply appreciate when the team sometimes allow me to lead the starting or ending prayer for the team, despite the difference the team and I know we have the faith.
Fasting for Ramadan is never a problem for me, my parents taught me to fast since I was 8, and whenever you are in Saudi, Football was a hobby for almost every kid there.
You’ve had an illustrious first season with La Salle. You started as a regular off the bench and in the postseason, you became a member of the starting eleven. How do you feel about your progression?
Being off the bench or in the starting is always progress, all of us know our role for the team, and all of us respect the coaches’ rotation, and the coaches know what’s best for the team. I wouldn’t have performed this UAAP if it wasn’t for the coaches’ decisions and the commitment we gave.
How did the coaches help you and what are the specific improvements they’d want to see in your game?
The coaches, of course, are the impact motivation of the team to reach the finals with their motivation and tactics. I don’t think we would reach this far for our UAAP season without them.
For me, they gave me the extra motivation and willingness to push more for the team because they gave me a big role to do it for the team and trusted me to do it.
What do you think are the biggest lessons for you this season that you can take to Season 82? What can you promise about next season?
The biggest lesson for me this season is the experience I encountered and to know what to expect next season since I was a rookie. I would also like to thank all the support and the audience that supported our games and encouraged me to do more, hearing random people calling my name encourages me and shows the value to represent the Green Archers. I would like to give promises but for me, actions speak louder than voice.