The boy Zayed says goodbye Iran and maybe hello Dubai
“Anyway, the next day a few of the other players came up and spoke to me; I’d been there a while at this stage and these were guys I hadn’t previously thought spoke English. I was thinking: ‘Hang on, where did that come from?’
“From there on, things were a lot better. I like Iran, the people are really friendly, but I probably wouldn’t have enjoyed it as much if I hadn’t scored those goals and the other hat-tricks.”
His agent’s iPhone footage must certainly have benefited from the addition of the Iranian goals, and Zayed is keen to capitalise. A move to the US has its attractions, he says, but he is not sure about the timing.
“They’re sort of selling it to me either as a stepping stone to the MLS or the opportunity to get my green card and look at the next phase of my life.
“It appeals to me, all right, but I’m 29, I like playing football, I think I’m playing fairly well, I’m scoring goals and these are supposed to be the best years of my career, so I want to keep playing, to focus on that as much as possible.
“Maybe if I was 32 or something I’d be thinking in terms of doing something else.”
He did consider other options in the wake of getting a degree and master’s in finance while at Fingal that would have qualified him for a career in financial control. It didn’t take long for him to realise, however, that it just wasn’t for him at that stage.
“I did this one interview for what you’d call a proper job,” he says, getting slightly anxious at the mere thought of it.
“Now, I’ve played in front of 80,000 people and this interview was with three, but I’ve never frozen the way I did that day. I just sat there in my suit, sweating like mad, thinking: ‘Get me out of here.’
“Eventually, I got out of the room and decided I was going to keep playing football.”
If his next move works out well and his international clearance finally gets sorted so that he can play competitive games for Libya – so far he has been endlessly frustrated by administrative problems that have limited him to a handful of friendlies – then he could be heading into the most exciting few years of his career.
Even if things don’t get much more exciting, they seem fairly certain to continue being pretty interesting.