The thought of confronting Real Madrid in the Fifa Club World Cup of this month may possibly strike fear in to a footballers – but perhaps maybe not if your nick name is’Braveheart’, like the half-Irish guardian Ayman Ben Mohamed of Esperance.

On Saturday , their Club World Cup effort opens against United Arab Emirates champions Al Ain.

A win would get the Tunisians up against South American champions River Plate and if they cross that bridge that is large, they can meet Sergio Ramos, Gareth Bale, Luka Modric and co at the 2-2 December final.

“Hopefully we’ve develop against Real Madrid,” Ben Mohamed, 24, told BBC Sport Africa.

“It’s a fantastic challenge. We’re very enthused about coming up against the very best teams.

“African teams generally don’t succeed at the championship. This season we’re going to attempt to be an exception”

Based in Africa, raised in Dublin born in London, the football travel of Ben Mohamed is an unusual one. He’s not forgotten his roots As the leftback might represent Tunisia at international stage.

“At the end of the day that my mother is Irish and that I had been raised in Ireland – and now I’m proud of this.

“Though I play to that Tunisian national team I consider myself Irish at exactly the exact identical time plus I’m proud of this too”

Having grown up to people of North Africa in distant climes, a tough apprenticeship was functioned by Ben Mohamed in the rocky conditions of the League of Ireland before moving to the capital in 2016.

“I wouldn’t say I really followed them closely, but I did accompany Tunisian football for some extent.”

Last month, he even wrote his name in to club folklore after helping overturn a 3-1 deficit against Egypt’s Al Ahly in the two-legged African Champions League final to dramatically win the name as 4-3 aggregate winners.

“It is an amazing feeling, to be a Champions League winner,” says a man whose childhood heroes contained Steven Gerrard and former Chelsea and Republic of Ireland winger Damien Duff.

“I have always loved football and also had a fire to get it to get as long as I can remember. I used to play daily on the street with friends”

His talent did not go unnoticed.

Back in 2007 08, playing boys, the diminutive 12-year-old was a portion of a school club that won the Leinster Cup that is regional and forced it compared to the All-Ireland final of this year.

“Ayman like a pupil this is an extremely quiet, considerate, respectful son,” Oisin Mac Eoin, his coach at Dublin’s St Benildus College told Sport Africa. “He had the qualities which have been necessary to ensure it is at the highest level.”

One of them contained an attitude that was exceptional, together with Mac Eoin remembering how Ben Mohamed improved so much throughout the summer he forced his way to the starting lineup for the final.

“I distinctly remember speaking with Ayman before the match,” the coach recalls.

“He had been yanking his sleeves up because the jersey did not fit him. I thought to him,’Ayman, you’re starting today for the first time – it’s the All-Ireland final, I have 100 percent faith in you personally. Are you feeling about it?’

“He looked at me and he said,’Mr Mac Eoin, you believe in mepersonally, that is enough for me. I promise I will give 110 percent’ – and that is what he did every single game. He had the heart of a lion”

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“In Irish we say’he who is not big and strong has to be resourceful’, also Ayman was very, very resourceful on the pitch. He used his attributes: his pace, energy. That fighting spirit was with him from the very start.”

This spirit has made him the nick name’Braveheart’ at Esperance, compared to Mel Gibson’s portrayal of Scottish freedom fighter William Wallace in the 1995 Oscar-winning picture of the same name.

Ben Mohamed was only 17 when he joined his League of Ireland side, University College Dublin, before moving to Longford Town three decades later and on to 11-time champions Bohemians.

Yet making it to Irish football’s top tier was far from plain sailing.

“You will find plenty of times when I was younger when I thought’this is probably not for me’,” explains a man whose quiet and thoughtful persona from the pitch belies his tenacity onto it.

“I had been playing one club and thought I had been mistreated – they put me at the next team and said I had been too small. The approach is very wrong. They prefer a player on a player.

“There clearly were several racial problems too well because I’m out of the different backdrop. I did not believe I would develop into a person “

But it had been Ben Mohamed heritage that ended up paving the way for his pathway to the Club World Cup, Tunisia and, hence.

“I had been playing for Bohemians and studying in college at exactly precisely the exact identical moment – I’d exams and had been at the library hoping to cram all my lastminute studying,” he says.

“I got a telephone from a Tunisian number and it was be some one from the Tunisian FA. They wanted to telephone me up for national team duty had been after me. That was a surprise. I was delighted and did not think .”

The way was paved by his international call-up for the movement.

“It was not easy,” he says of the decision. “It had been the first time moving away from family and being away from home. I found it very difficult at the beginning: civilization, an alternative language and way of life. Even the manner of football was different.”

Ligament and groin injuries that necessitated operation disrupted the early portion of his career with the team.

“The fans helped me to get through most of the difficult stages. As soon as I got injured they consistently behind me personally, always supported me. I’m very grateful for this. They have a unique place in my heart”

His travel from to African American winner is still sinking in, but the future challenge is imminent.

“I’m very enthused about the Fifa Club World Cup – that I can’t wait around for it to come. It’s something you dream of , playing in an global tournament like that contrary to champions of different continents”

IE]>Ayman Ben Mohamed shows off the African Champions League trophy to Esperance fans