Blatter to attend Gulf Cup opening ceremony

Updated 19 December 2012

Blatter to attend Gulf Cup opening ceremony

FIFA president Joseph Sepp Blatter, will be attending the opening ceremony of the 21st Gulf Cup next month in Bahrain, the organizing committee announced yesterday.
The event is scheduled to take place Jan. 5 to 18, with the National Stadium in Riffa being the venue for the opening and closing ceremonies.
The Organizing Committee received an official letter from the FIFA chief, in which he accepted an invitation that was initiated by chairman of the Executive Committee of Gulf Cup Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa last October.
The presence of Blatter in this edition of the Gulf Cup affirmed his support to this prestigious regional football competition, and also underlines the unique reputation that this event has reached since it was founded in 1970.
The Organizing Committee, meanwhile, has appointed Jordanian media personnel Menem Fakhoury as general coordinator for press conferences during the tournament.
He will also oversee interviews that will take place at the specially-allocated “Mix Zone” at the National Stadium and Stadium Khalifa Sports City Stadium in Isa Town.
Fakhoury is regarded as one of the most prominent media practitioners in the Arab region and has a remarkable media and sports record.
He had previously worked for Jordanian publication Al Rai for nearly 30 years, and chaired its sports department. He also conducted many lectures highlighting the media aspects in Jordan and on the continental level.
Fakhoury also worked as an observer of international matches in Asia, including the Asian Champions League, the AFC Cup and West Asian Championship.
He was declared international instructor by the Asian Football Confederation and attended various training course in sports umpiring in general, as well as other issues on observing football competitions and international seminars for coaches.
As part of its hard work to evoke all the success factors in welcoming VIP personnel, the Reception Committee has made visits to the National Stadium to inspect its facilities that underwent significant chances recently.
This visit was also witnessed by Stadiums Committee chairman Khalid Al Haj and Transports Committee chairman Ali Al Majed.
During the visit, they looked into the main facilities that featured substantial amendments following major construction and renovation works at the stadium in preparation for the upcoming event.
The committee representatives also inspected the entry gates as well as parking area allocated for VIPs.
The committee members were briefed on the main stand scheme and the distribution of its stands allocated for VIPs and the appropriate mechanism to be taken by the Committee in order to ensure the success of its mission.
Elsewhere, the media committee has prepared all arrangements related to the media centers that will be made available at different locations.
This came during the committee meeting, chaired by Tawfeeq Al Salhi who was briefed on what have been achieved in this regard.
Updates on the committee duties and tasks were presented by Hamad Ali and Jaber Shamsl, as several media personnel in the GCC and Arab region have been invited to attend the tournament.

What now for Saudi Arabia’s big four teams?

Updated 19 April 2018

What now for Saudi Arabia’s big four teams?

  • Al-Hilal won their 15th top-flight title this season.
  • Big summer for Saudi Arabia football with the Green Falcons at the World Cup.

Now the Saudi Professional League season is over for another year Arab News can look back at their title tilts and what the big four clubs have to do over the coming months ahead of the next season.



Finished: Champions

Coaching situation: Ramon Diaz was in charge for much of the season, but was fired in February after setbacks in the Champions League.
Assistant Juan Brown did Okay in the final stretch, but a top-class coach could get more out of this team.

Squad priorities: A reliable goalscorer to support Omar Khribin and with veteran defender Osama Hawsawi leaving for pastures new, a replacement center-back with leadership qualities. Welcoming back the major stars — Carlos Eduardo, Khribin, Nawaf Al-Abed and Salem Al -Dawsari — will be a major boost.

Aim next season: Win the AFC Champions League



Finished: Second

Coaching situation: Sergiy Rebrov is out of contract at the end of June. His future is likely to depend on how the team fares against Al-Sadd in the second round of the AFC Champions League in May.

Squad priorities: There is not much wrong. The Jeddah giants were the highest scorers in the league last season and had the second best defense. Keeping star midfielder Leonardo fit will help as will a little cover in the center of defense. Star striker Omar Al-Somah fell out with the coach in a public way in the penultimate game of the season. It may be that one of them has to go. The Syrian has been player of the year for three years and has a longer contract than Rebrov.

Aim next season: Win the league. Maintain good performances in Asia.


Finished: Third

Coaching situation: Krunoslav Jurcic arrived in January and the former Croatian national team boss produced an upswing in results. May just be a temporary appointment and it needs to be sorted quickly.

Squad priorities: Looks good with the Saudi Arabia national team keeper, a strong center-back pairing of Omar Hawsawi and Bruno Uvini and the full-back position seemingly sorted with the January signing of Saad Suhail. They probably need a defensive midfielder and have to keep Junior Kabananga. The DR Congo striker has shown enough in his few weeks at the club to suggest that he could be a real star next season, especially with Leonardo pulling the strings behind him.

Aim next season: A genuine title challenge and getting through the play-offs into  the 2019 AFC Champions League.



Finished: Ninth

Coaching situation: A bottom half finish is unacceptable for a team with Al-Itithad’s stature and history. Chilean coach Jose Luis Sierra may find that winning domestic cups is no substitute for challenging for the title.

Squad priorities: There is too much reliance on players such as Carlos Villanueva, a creative spark in the team, and Fahad Al-Ansari, the midfield engine, who are the wrong side of 30. The possible return of star winger Fahad Al-Muwallad will help, but an introduction of energy is needed.

Aim next season: Top three and, if the team wins the King’s Cup, a good showing in the 2019 AFC Champions League.