Omar Al-Abdlawi (30) has completed all operations and examinations after an eye injury, and is close to returning with the national team. This week he met his teammates for the first time in nearly two years.
– It was nice. It was very nice. It was great to see all the players and the whole team around the national team, and this is the first time I’ve seen them in a very, very long time. It was so nice to get such a good hug from everyone, Al-Abdlawi tells VG.
He is back in Oslo and will attend Sunday’s League of Nations meeting with Sweden from the stands. The man who has played 49 caps for Norway has not been in the squad since fall 2020, a few months before he suffered a serious eye injury. It almost cost him his eyesight.
Al-Abdlawi was the captain of the Norwegian national team until he almost lost his sight after that Fireworks hit his face New Year’s Eve 2020. After he was clinically blind for the first time, he had to undergo eleven operations to restore his sight.
– There are some that I spoke to more than others, but they were all very supportive. Everyone sent messages and showed that they were waiting for me, and it was unbelievably cool.
– It was great to see him. He’s been through a lot. I think we were all scared, frightened and shocked when this happened, says Martin Odegaard To VG at Saturday’s press conference.
– It was touching to see him again. I hope he’ll soon be back in that gang here, because he has a lot to contribute, Stefan Strandberg tells VG.
The right-back admired the Norwegian national team, and now he feels tingling in his legs to join the rally once again.
It’s a team that I’ve been a part of for many years and played an incredible number of matches with. After everything that happened, it was great to see them again. Next time, I hope to be there and play with them, says the 30-year-old.
In March, he was selected again for the national team, but had to report due to undergoing a routine and final eye examination. He has now finished all operations and controls – and is performing at the same level as before the injury. This time it was a hoarding injury that made the hill irrelevant, something Solbakken confirmed on Saturday.
– I spoke to Ståle and had good communication and dialogue with him throughout the process, so he was kept updated on everything. So, it was very boring for the hoarding injury to come, because I was all too willing to put together to put it that way. In terms of football, I felt very good and had a lot of good games with Galatasaray right before the injury, so it was boring.
Just before he got injured, he was once again an important part of the Galatasaray team. He participated in six consecutive matches, five of which ended in victory.
– I feel very good and I’ve had very good feedback on the matches I’ve played. I am very honest with myself and I feel very good.
– He will start our leadership at the end of June. Now I prepare my body for pre-season and try to be as well-equipped as possible for that. Then it’s just a heater, and I’m hoping to stay away from all the little injuries now, he says.
Norway played a goalless match against Slovenia, but before that it had two strong victories over Serbia and Sweden.
– It’s incredibly delicious. It tastes so good to see guys beat them up. I am looking forward to tomorrow and feel confident that the players will do it again. We are building something very well, says Abdlawy.
What is the biggest difference between the team now and two years ago?
– It’s hard to say the big differences, but one thing we should point out is Haaland of course. There is nothing to hide. There are many players who do well for good teams in good leagues. You see Martin Odegaard who got a big role at Arsenal, and in the second round he made against Slovenia showed a very high level and who is the player. He says it’s a very well-functioning team.
In the absence of Abdalawi, it was Marcus Holmgren Pedersen who performed an operation at the right-back. According to VG information, it’s Julian Ryerson who gets a chance against Sweden on Sunday night.
If Norway wins, Sweden will have no chance of winning the group in the Nations League, which could be awarded a place in the European Championships in Germany in 2024.
– I think we’ll win. I feel like we have a better team now, and I feel very safe.
So he doesn’t think that Swedish journalists care about injuries?
– It’s part of football and we also lack some players, that’s how it is. There is nothing to blame.
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