'Keeper of the inaugural Pipe

Al-Shaibani continues to shine in goal

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Purple Pipe: Haidar Al-Shaibani

Jonas Hrebeniuk

SNAGGING MORE PIPE THAN A PLUMBER. Men's soccer goalkeeper Haidar Al-Shaibani is the recipient of our first Purple Pipe of the year after allowing only one goal in the team's first four games.

Every Friday, Gazette Sports awards the Purple Pipe for an outstanding performance by a Western athlete. This week’s winner is Haidar Al-Shaibani, the goalkeeper of the men’s soccer team.

Al-Shaibani, who this past summer helped Canada secure a fourth-place finish at the 2007 Summer Universiade, had three consecutive shutouts in league play until he was scored on in a game against Brock on Sept. 9.

With Western hoping to repeat as Ontario University Athletics champs, Al-Shaibani will once again be a key member of the roster. The Gazette had a chat with Al-Shaibani about Canadian Interuniversity Sport, the OUA and headbutts.

How was winning the OUA title last year?
It was hard to win it last year because two years ago we had an undefeated season but lost in the semis, so we couldn’t make it to nationals. Last year we had something to prove to ourselves and everybody else, so we pushed everybody hard. We were unlucky in nationals but at least we made it.

Will this year’s OUA competition be tougher?
A couple of teams are going to be really good. York and Brock are the two big rivals that we have. The rest of the teams are more defensive teams, so it’s hard to crack them down.

If you get to CIS how would you compare your chances to last year?
We have something to prove this year because last year we got knocked out in first round penalty shots. I think this year will be tougher in some ways but easier in others. We have a lot of returning players who know what it takes to go to nationals.

Do you ever see yourself moving up to USL?
Maybe in the near future, I am not sure yet. I haven’t thought about it. We will see how everything goes. I don’t really like planning ahead for myself.

What do you do to celebrate a victory?
We just have fun ... get together and have a good time.

Who is your favourite international player?
Zinedine Zidane. Zizou.

What do you think of his infamous headbutt?
I think Matserati deserved it...I don’t like that player.

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