Sit down, I’ve got something to tell you. Ouasim Bouy has played a game of football. Well, sort of. I think.
It’s hard to tell. I was hoping to keep an eye on Bouy’s progress at Qatari club Al Kharaitiyat, genuinely intrigued to discover what kind of footballer he is, given he never played for Leeds’ first team in four years here. But it turns out Bouy has managed to underwhelm even by his own low standards. Al Kharaitiyat play in the Qatari Second Division, making it difficult to find much in the way of line-ups or match footage. Some websites still describe the Qatargas league as an Under-23 competition, which is no longer true, and the Qatar Football Association website still displays last season’s league table. There are a couple of news stories, rounding up the results from the first two weekends of this season. Al Kharaitiyat are top of the league, which is nice, but there is no mention of Bouy, and the division is too obscure for the line-ups to be provided on sites like Whoscored, Transfermarkt, Sofascore or Soccerway. If Ouasim Bouy plays a game of football but nobody on the internet is there to notice, does it really happen?
As with most things regarding Bouy’s career, the best place to find out what’s going on is his Instagram profile. Since the summer of 2017, when Bouy joined Leeds on a four-year(!) deal from Juventus, most of his Instagram posts have shown various holidays: sitting on a boat off the island of Capri, sitting on a scooter in Curacao, sitting in a swimming pool in Ibiza. All of the pictures get likes from Gaetano Berardi, because he’s a nice person. The holiday updates have been occasionally interspersed by strange music videos of Bouy getting into a Porsche, driving a Porsche, and getting out of a Porsche before training on his own in a local park. It’s difficult to tell whether these are supposed to remind us that he’s a professional footballer or that he owns a Porsche. The effect is more one than the other. But look at his latest post — liked by Berardi, obviously — and there he is, Ouasim Bouy, playing football in the number 10 shirt of Al Kharaitiyat.
Even then, it’s hard to discern any specifics. The caption reads, ‘Thank God for everything,’ in Arabic. It was posted on 28 September, five days after Al Karaitiyat’s latest fixture, a 2-0 win over Al Markhiya, although I can’t tell whether it’s from that game or their season opener, a 3-2 win over Al Waab. Whichever, he obviously wasn’t in a rush to post about playing, even though you’d have to go further back than Adam Forshaw’s outing at Charlton to find Bouy’s previous league appearance.
Bouy’s most recent career choice has at least piqued my interest for a different reason. Al Kharaitiyat play their home games at the Al-Khawr Stadium, which also hosts Al-Khor SC. A quick Google of Al-Khor tells me they are managed by veteran coach Winfried Schafer, who previously managed Jamaica and gave caps to Rudy Austin and Jermaine Beckford. The more exciting discovery is about who wears the number 9 shirt for Al-Khor: it’s Hamburg’s favourite son and former Leeds loanee Pierre-Michel Lasogga. Despite playing in Qatar’s top flight rather than the second tier, it’s still difficult to find out the exact number of goals Lasogga has scored in spells at Al-Arabi and Al-Khor. Thankfully, there’s a highlights compilation on YouTube suggesting Lasogga is having fun, scoring plenty of goals without really moving inside the penalty area, laying on decent passes for teammates to mess up, and taking a leaf out of Michael’s TSB Podcast coaching manual by kicking penalties and free-kicks really hard towards goal.
Lasogga’s own Instagram profile has plenty of posts liked by Berardi, too. It’s nice to imagine Berra has hooked Lasogga and Bouy up in Qatar, DMing them to point out they share the same home ground. Maybe they’re both sitting around a pool right now, slagging off Paul Heckingbottom and wondering what might have been. Maybe they’re reminiscing about the good times, like Lasogga scoring against Millwall with the supportive cries of the fans urging him on, or Bouy getting to hug Andrea Radrizzani at a team meeting like Mino Raiola’s equivalent of the McKay twins. Or maybe Lasogga mentions Elland Road and Bouy’s eyes glaze over, while he wonders where that is and what the hell Bera’s weird mate is talking about. ⬢(Every magazine online, every podcast ad-free. Click here to find out how to support us with TSB+)