Exclusive Interview: Achraf Nait

James Rowe for The Secret Footballer

JR ''You’re currently in between clubs at the moment having left Malaga CF. How is life for you at the moment in your professional football career?''

AN ''I am not completely retired as a professional job. I have accepted a job working for the Dutch Government. When the first wave of COVID 19 hit in February there were a lot of clubs who could not financially attract players and certainly not extend the contracts of existing players. Then the second wave arrived and nobody expected that and in the aftermath of that it was very difficult to find a club and I managed to put a lot of football agents to work and then  I am managed to keep training regularly and staying fit and we shall see what happens in the future.''

JR ''Your most recent club was Malaga CF in Spain. How do you look back on your time at the club and do you have any highlights or special memories?''

AN ''Yes, I look back with a really big smile during my time at Malaga CF. I really grew at the club as a player having signed from Gibraltar United. Malaga CF was a higher level that Gibraltar United and I had to get used to it at first and I played against some great opponents such as Yannick Carrasco in a friendly game and I was really close to making my debut for the first team at the end of January 2020 and then I suffered a small back injury and my teammates even said how unlucky I was that COVID19 struck so close to making my debut and Malaga CF let nine players leave the club and their contract was not extended at the end of June 2020 and that was shame but I learned a lot from my time at the club and such an experience has only made my stronger.''

JR ''You also played for Gibraltar United. How do you look back on your time at the club and do you have any special memories or highlights?''

AN ''Yes definitely. I arrived in Gibraltar from the Netherlands and I was approached by an English agent who saw me play in a tournament and he saw that I had potential and he had contact with Michel Salgado who was the Ambassador and Ex Technical Director of Gibraltar United and also a friend of the agent that approached me and the agent has sent videos of my playing to Michel with the advice that the club should get in contact with me and at that time I had a dilemma because at that time I also had interest from RKC Waalwijk who at the time where playing in the Eredivisie and I had to weigh up my options but after I had spoken to Michel Salgado and listening to such a big name who is his career played for Celta Vigo, Real Madrid and was also capped by his country. He told me that Gibraltar United were arranging a new concept and that their goal was to become Champions of Gibraltar and play in Europe and I had an eye of breaking through at the club and getting in the spotlight which could have also meant more chances of playing my football on a bigger stage in Europe so I took the chance immediately.''

JR ''You mentioned Yannick Carrasco, when you reflect on what you have achieved in your career could you say which opponents have stood out for you in terms of talent and ability?''

AN ''Yes, I remember when I played against the Real Madrid B team and that was when Vinícius Júnior played in that team and Isco would often play with the Real Madrid B team in order to keep fit. Nacho Fernandez who has now broken into the first team. I played against many good opponents so far in my career. Yannick Carrasco when he was playing for Chinese team Dalian Professional F.C. We played a tournament in Marbella in Spain and a funny anecdote was that during the warming up I was the only Dutchman in the team and he expected that he was playing a Spanish team in Malaga CF so I threw in a Dutch word in during the came and he laughed and said to me '' Oh You are Dutch? , Nice '' which was nice memory of when I played against him.''

JR ''I understand that you also have a current role at player Agency SportsHubX. Could you elaborate on your role?''

AN ''Yes I was approached by Bobby Singh from SportsHubX and we know one another via mutual contacts and he has his own agency and it appears to have a lot of potential and I believe a player on their books has just signed for Liverpool FC and he said to me with your vision and your network if I could make a contribution to his agency and he wanted to give my the role of Director of the Netherlands and I represent the Netherlands and I am enjoying the role. I am Director Talent of the Netherlands and I am responsible for all players in the Netherlands and we help players with management, marketing and self development. I believe it is a great opportunity with a great vision too and I thought it was a good fit and I enjoy stimulating youth players and also helping them learn from the mistakes that I made in my football career. It is a great project and I am really intrigued what is going to happen in future and I have a lot of confidence in SportsHubX.''

JR ''Looking ahead to the future Achraf if you do manage to find a way back into professional football and you could choose what you would ideally like to achieve in your professional career?''

AN ''Eventually it is every young boy's dream to play in the Champions League and I am training in a very intensive way at the moment because I know the transfer window will open up in January and I want to be fit and ready. I am regularly in touch with football agents and I have to take my chance when it comes. I believe that during the January transfer window that I will be contracted to a professional club and I believe that from there on in the ball will roll and that I will get back to playing regular games and get into the rhythm of playing again and who knows from then on in make a good step for my career in an eventual summer transfer window. I hope from there on in to realize my dreams in professional football and you know that things can happen really quickly in professional football. It is all about what I do and if I consistently work hard and I also believe that everything will work out in the end.''

James Rowe is a Dutch Football expert based in the Netherlands, professional writer and translator for The Secret Footballer. He has featured on talkSPORT and regularly features on talkSPORT 2 and Love Sport Radio. You can follow him on Twitter here.