5 Saudi football talents earn trip to Spain as guests of Real Madrid FC

Updated 04 February 2013
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5 Saudi football talents earn trip to Spain as guests of Real Madrid FC

For the past two weeks 160 budding local football talents have been enjoying the time of their young lives at the Real Madrid Youth Training Camp, hosted in Jeddah by Abdul Latif Jameel (ALJ), where they had the unique opportunity of being coached by a team of football professionals from the Real Madrid Youth Training Institution.
For some, it could be a life changing experience that sets them on the road to a career as professional players.
Commenting on the huge popularity of the youth initiative, Adel Ezzat, managing director of Marketing at ALJ, said: “It has been a great pleasure to welcome the team of coaches from the Real Madrid Youth Training Institution and see them put our young local talents through their paces. Equally, it was a joy to see the young players’ keenness to benefit from world-class training by experts from one of the world’s greatest football clubs. Through this varied program full of fun, educational and innovative football activities, the youngsters have learned Real Madrid FC values such as leadership, fellowship, tolerance and participation, all qualities that will benefit them throughout their lives.”
The Real Madrid Youth Camp was held at Saudia Sports City in Jeddah for two weeks from Jan. 16 to 31, where the young participants were divided into three age brackets: 7-9, 10-12 and 13-16, and formed into nine groups, each named after a Real Madrid first team player: Ronaldo, Alonso, Marcelo, Pepe, Modric, Ramos, Ozil, Casillas and Di Maria. The training focused on the four mainstays of the program: technical and tactical skills, physical and motor skills, health, and values education.
ALJ celebrated the successful conclusion of the training program with a recognition ceremony held on last Thursday at Saudia Sports City Club. All the young trainees were presented with certificates of participation, leading up to the highlight of the event which was the announcement of the five most promising young players who will be sent on an all expenses paid trip to Spain. The five winners were selected from the categories: Best Attacker, Best Midfielder, Best Defender, Best Goalkeeper and Best Disciplined Player.
As one of the Kingdom’s leading companies, Abdul Latif Jameel is committed to being a proactive member of the community and believes in supporting the Kingdom’s youth by initiatives that develop their talents and challenge their ambitions to excel in their chosen field.


‘Good, but not good enough’: Juan Antonio Pizzi on Saudi Arabia’s defeat to Uruguay

Updated 20 June 2018
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‘Good, but not good enough’: Juan Antonio Pizzi on Saudi Arabia’s defeat to Uruguay

  • A Luis Suaréz goal midway through the first half gave Uruguay a 1-0 win
  • Pizzi had spoken passionately about the need for his side to demonstrate a higher level of focus and performance

ROSTOV-ON-DON: Good, but not good enough.
That was what Juan Antonio Pizzi stated as he declared himself pleased with his team’s performance in the 1-0 defeat to Uruguay on Wednesday night.
But he lamented his side’s lack of firepower as they exited the World Cup after just two matches.
Pizzi had spoken passionately about the need for his side to demonstrate a higher level of focus and performance in Rostov-on-Don after losing their opening game 5-0 to hosts Russia in Moscow last week.
The Argentine got his wish with a display that saw the Green Falcons fight throughout and edge possession against a Uruguay side ranked 14th in the world.
A Luis Suaréz goal midway through the first half after poor goalkeeping from Mohammed Al-Owais, however, was enough to hand the Green Falcons a 12th successive World Cup defeat.
The result means that even with a win against Egypt on Monday, the Green Falcons are no longer capable of progressing to the knock-out stages from Group A.
“We had a lot of ball possession and were able to impose our style of play and distribution,” said Pizzi. “We conceded a goal from a random play and didn’t have the weapons or tools to try to equalize. We kept the ball well and weren’t really troubled defensively, but lacked that ability to score.”
Indeed, for all their possession, Saudi Arabia have managed just three shots on target in 180 minutes of football. Against Russia, they failed to muster a single effort on target and the managed just three against Uruguay, two of which came in the final minutes when they knew they had to score or face elimination. None of the three shots came from a striker.
“This is our weakness. We have good ball possession, but no effectiveness. We lack the depth and skill required to win these games,” Pizzi added. “We have that deficiency and have looked for solutions, but we haven’t quite come up with one yet. But that is one of the reasons great forward are in high demand and are the elite players in world football.”
Pizzi had made four changes ahead of the match, dropping goalkeeper Abdullah Al-Mayouf in favor of Al-Owais and introducing Ali Al-Bulayhi at the heart of the defense alongside Osama Hawsawi. Further upfield, Hattan Bahberi came in for Yahya Al-Shehri and Fahad Al-Muwallad replaced Mohammed Al-Sahlawi. The changes, particularly the inclusion of Bahberi, seemed to give the side more impetus in midfield.
“The difference between the performance in the first game and this game is enormous,” Pizzi said. “The only way to compete at this level is to play at the level we did here. And even then it was not enough even to get a draw. Undoubtedly there were other factors aside from the pressure of playing in the opening game that made a difference, but it’s true that the difference was enormous.”
Many critics had predicted a deluge of goals from the likes of Suarez and Cavani, yet both were kept at bay. Save for a couple of half-chances early on, neither came close to scoring until the 23rd minute.
A corner from Carlos Sanchez sailed into the area and when Al-Owais came for it but failed to connect with his punch, Barcelona forward Suaréz was left with the simplest of tap-ins. He was so caught off-guard, he actually looked surprised as he reeled away in celebration.
“I believe you cannot be relaxed in any match,” Suarez said when asked by a Uruguayan journalist whether he had taken it easy against the Saudis.
“We wanted to win and to progress to the knock-out stage and this game simply showed how difficult it is. That’s the World Cup for you though and we are obviously delighted with how we have performed so far to progress.”
Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez did not share his striker’s sentiments.
“Saudi Arabia wanted to excel and give a better account of themselves after losing to Russia,” he said.
“They did that very well and we have to respect them. But what surprised me the most is how we played. We underperformed.”