Blatter to attend Gulf Cup opening ceremony

Updated 19 December 2012
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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.


Juan Antonio Pizzi is still the right man to lead Saudi Arabia, says former Green Falcons boss

Updated 22 June 2018
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Juan Antonio Pizzi is still the right man to lead Saudi Arabia, says former Green Falcons boss

  • Saudi Arabia's 1996 Asian Cup-winning coach Nelo Vingada backs Pizzi to lead side into next year's Asian Cup.
  • Green Falcons face Egypt on Monday with both looking to land their first point in Russia.

MOSCOW: Saudi Arabia’s 1996 Asian Cup-winning boss Nelo Vingada has called on the country’s football authorities to keep faith with head coach Juan Antonio Pizzi despite a disappointing showing in Russia.
The Green Falcons still have to face Egypt in the final match of Group A, but have already been eliminated following a 5-0 defeat at the hands of Russia in the opening game on June 14 in Moscow and a 1-0 loss to Uruguay five days later in Rostov.
 “I was expecting a little more from Saudi Arabia to be honest,” Vingada told Arab News.
“In the first game they were disappointing but a first game of the World Cup is always hard and especially when it is the first game and everyone is watching. Plenty of teams at the World Cup did not play well in the first game.
“But playing Russia in Russia and to lose is what you would normally expect from Saudi Arabia and while it was far from positive, people should not get carried away.
“The game with Uruguay was much improved in terms of organization and defense and it showed more of the character of the Saudi Arabia team.”
In the past, coaches have been axed following disappointing World Cup campaigns but with the 2019 Asian Cup just seven months away, the Portuguese tactician would prefer to see some stability rather than yet another new man in the dugout.
 “The Asian Cup is in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia will be one of the contenders,” Vingada said. “It is better to stay with the same coach. He has a vision of how he wants the team to play and he now knows the players and the players know him.”
Constant changing has not helped Saudi Arabia in the past and Pizzi himself has been in the job just seven months.
“The problem is not the coach. He should not be changed, that has happened before but results did not improve, but the mentality has to change.”
Despite that Vingada, who has coached 
Egyptian club giants Zamalek and the country’s Under-23 team, believes that the Pharaohs, also eliminated, will prevail when the two regional rivals meet on Monday in Volgograd.
 “This is an important game for pride, the players and the countries. It is still the World Cup. Egypt have a little more quality I think and have Mohamed Salah too.” 
The Liverpool striker has been recovering from a shoulder injury sustained in the Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid in late May and missed the opening game 1-0 loss to Uruguay. He played in the second game, a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Russia, scoring from the spot late in the match to earn a consolation.
“Any coach would take Salah because he can win you games but overall Egypt have been a little disappointing and a little unlucky.”
The bad luck came when conceding a last-minute goal to Uruguay and a fluke own goal to get Russia off the mark. “Uruguay are a tough team and it is no shame to lose 3-1 to a Russia team at home who are playing to qualify for the next round. It showed that European and South American teams still have a little more quality.”
 “Egypt just made some mistakes at the wrong time but this is football and without mistakes there are no goals.”
Ahead of the clash against Egypt Pizzi confirmed his intention to stay as Saudi Arabia boss, looking to build on the seven months he has had to imprint his ideas on the team ahead of the Asian Cup.