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.”


India’s Gautam Gambhir quits as Delhi Daredevils skipper in IPL

Updated 19 min 30 sec ago
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India’s Gautam Gambhir quits as Delhi Daredevils skipper in IPL

  • Delhi have lost five of their first six matches
  • Shreyas Iyer takes over from Gambhir

NEW DELHI: Gautam Gambhir on Wednesday stepped down as captain of Indian Premier League side Delhi Daredevils after they lost five of their first six matches in this year’s Twenty20 tournament.
Mumbai batsman Shreyas Iyer has been appointed the new captain of a side that lies bottom of the eight-team table in the cash-rich league.
Gambhir, who led Kolkata Knight Riders to two IPL titles in 2012 and 2014, was bought by Daredevils for $418,320 in the January auction and subsequently made skipper ahead of the 2018 season.
But the left-handed opener failed to inspire the Daredevils in the first half of the IPL. He has scored just 85 runs in five innings.
“I take full responsibility for where we are at the points table,” Gambhir told reporters in New Delhi.
“I felt this was the right time because we still have a chance. Absolutely my decision. No pressure from the franchise.
“Maybe I was too desperate to turn things around...I was sitting alone and thinking, I couldn’t handle the pressure... I was not good enough and that is all,” said the 36-year-old Gambhir.
Daredevils coach Ricky Ponting congratulated Gambhir for what the former Australian captain called a “tough decision.”
“I think Gautam deserves a lot of credit with the way he has handled this situation,” said Ponting.
“It’s really unheard of in Indian cricket for a senior player to put his hand up and say that I am not playing well enough and for the team’s sake I am going to stand down,” he added.
Gambhir, who played his 58th and most recent Test for India in 2016 against England, has fallen off the selectors’ radar.
Daredevils’ team management said Gambhir will continue as player and mentor for a side still seeking its first title in the glitzy league which began in 2008.
The IPL is now in its 11th season.
There is $8 million in prize money at stake including $4 million for the winning team. The final takes place on May 27 in Mumbai.