Saudi football to be given Spanish edge

Lionel Messi
Updated 18 October 2017
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Saudi football to be given Spanish edge

The General Sports Authority (GSA) of Saudi Arabia, the Saudi Arabian Football federation (SAFF) Saudi Arabia have signed up with La Liga in a bid to push football in the Kingdom to the next level.
An academy partnership been agreed which will allow the SAFF to create and develop local football academies in the Kingdom under the brand, technical supervision, and expertise of the world-famous Spanish league. The hope is that young Saudi players will have access to the best football training methods allowing them to attain all the skills they need to make it at the very top. It also aims to work with football coaches across the country to develop coaching skills and methodologies over the coming years.
Not only has an academy partnership been agreed, but the country will now also benefit from a talent scouting initiative for young footballers – a move which will see the brightest stars plying their trade in the same country as global stars Lionel Messi (pitcured) and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Coming on the back of Saudi Arabia’s qualification for the next year’s World Cup, Dr. Adel M. Ezzat, president of the Saudi Arabian Football Federation, said the timing of the agreement could not have been better.
“This agreement will enable some of the scouts and head coaches in La Liga to come to Saudi and watch the best of the best which, for the national team players, is great news,” he said.
“All the support we are getting in the football sector is very important, the sector is huge and we are always looking to do our best in preparation for the World Cup.
“These agreements will help us be with the vision of Saudi Arabia, it is the number one sport in the country, and this can help making the nation one of the best in football in the world.”


Joe Root ton puts England on top against Sri Lanka

Updated 11 min 54 sec ago
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Joe Root ton puts England on top against Sri Lanka

KANDY: Captain Joe Root smashed 124 and newcomer Ben Foakes again hit valuable tail end runs to put England in command of the second Test against Sri Lanka on Friday.
England reached 324 for nine — a second innings lead of 278 — when bad light stopped play for the day in Kandy.
Foakes was batting on 51 alongside James Anderson on four.
Spinner Akila Danajanya, whose action is under investigation by the International Cricket Council, claimed six wickets on the turning pitch.
He trapped Root lbw and then bowled Sam Curran for nought with his next ball. Adil Rashid thwarted the hat-trick but soon fell to Dananjaya’s guile for two.
It was his third five wicket haul in just his fifth Test for Dananjaya, who must rush off to Australia after the game for an ICC examination of his bowling.
He however could not stop Root and Foakes swinging the game.
Root reached his 15th Test ton soon after tea, making the sweep and reverse sweep valuable weapons, as he hit 10 fours and two sixes in his 146-ball knock.
Root said he enjoyed making the runs despite the pressure.
“That’s what it should be. You shouldn’t feel pressure like the pressure is too much for you, you should enjoy the occasion and make the most of the opportunity in front of you,” he said after the day’s play.
“The whole group managed to harness that today and make the most of it.”
Root raised his bat to a standing ovation from traveling English fans who also lauded Foakes.
Root made an 82-run seventh wicket stand with Foakes, who reached his fifty with a six off Dilruwan Perera. The hit turned out to be the last ball of the day with dark clouds gathering and thunder heard in the distance.
As he did in his sparkling century on Test debut in the opening game of the series, Foakes mixed caution and aggression to push up the England score.
Every one of England’s top seven batsmen were out attempting a sweep of some description.
Jos Buttler dragged one of Dananjaya’s deliveries onto his stumps while trying to reverse sweep on 34. Moeen Ali was trapped lbw for 10 after failing to connect with an attempted sweep.
“From my point of view, it was almost a safer shot than playing the forward defensive,” said Root.
“With the amount the ball was turning there’s a lot of risk involved in that. At times attack is the best form of defense on a wicket like that.”
Earlier, left-hander Rory Burns registered his maiden Test half-century in just his second match. He was trapped lbw off Malinda Pushpakumara for 59.
Burns then put together 73 runs for the second wicket with Keaton Jennings, who made 26, to steady the innings and help England overcome their 46-run deficit.
“I think the temptation with a deficit like that going into the second innings is to play within your shell and be a bit insular but the guys went out and set the tone at top of the order,” said Root.
“It was really pleasing to see inexperienced guys as Test cricketers really set the benchmark for the rest of the group, a really good platform for us.
“Hopefully we still stretch the lead further and that should be a good chase on this surface.”