“Nayim from the halfway line”. The famous song attributes the most famous memory of Mohammed Ali Amar – better known as Nayim, who played for Spurs over a five year spell in the late eighties and early nineties before scoring the goal that Spurs fans will revere him for – for a different team. Nayim’s long range goal in the UEFA Cup Winners Cup Final against Arsenal for Real Zaragoza remains his glory moment and the tip of the iceberg for Spurs fans given the fact that he was already a fan’s favourite at White Hart Lane.
The Ceuta born midfielder started his career at Barcelona but couldn’t really break into Terry Venables side which led to his loan spell in 1988 to Spurs. Nayim only made 11 league appearances during his league spell, scoring twice, but it was enough to convince the club to sign him for £400,000. The best of Nayim was yet to come as Spurs were left delighted the signing of an extremely talented central midfielder whose deft touches and remarkable skills won over the fans quickly and made him one of the club’s favourites.
Nayim would go on to stay with Spurs until 1993, remaining a first team regular for much of that time and winning an FA Cup in that time. Nayim made almost 150 league appearances for Spurs, scored 18 league goals and showed an attacking verve that excited the Spurs fans to no end. His 1993 departure to Zaragoza disappointed many and ended Nayim’s association to English football.
Nayim impressed back in his homeland and quickly became a Zaragoza favourite as he had been at Spurs, going on to spend four impressive years with the club. He didn’t score often but his goal from the halfway line in the last minute of that Cup Winners Cup final made him even more of a cult hero than he had already been. Nayim joined lower division side Logrones in 1997 before retiring from competitive football in 2000.
Nayim did not stay away from football too long though and quickly moved into coaching, joining his hometown club Ceuta as a coach and he worked through the ranks, becoming assistant manager and eventually becoming their manager. Much more recently Nayim joined the staff at La Liga strugglers Zaragoza as he became the assistant to new manager Jose Aurelio Gay. Gay and Nayim will now be looking to get Zaragoza away from the relegation zone and keep them in the top flight which will prove a relatively tricky task.
A gentleman of the game who was so liked that there’s even a street named after him in his hometown; Nayim excelled for all the clubs that gave him a real chance and showed the kind of skills that quickly gain supporters. The diminutive Spaniard is likely to remain in football for a long time yet and nothing’s impossible for him, it wouldn’t be too surprising to see him return to White Hart Lane one day to join the staff which would surely be a welcome addition.