Three Saudi Arabia players who can make a name for themselves at the Gulf Cup

Updated 15 December 2017

Three Saudi Arabia players who can make a name for themselves at the Gulf Cup

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia are sending a ‘B’ team to this year’s Gulf Cup with Krunoslav Juric as coach, not new boss Juan Antonio Pizzi. Here Arab News looks at the temporary coach and the players who could make a name for themselves and a bid for a spot in the World Cup squad.


The man tasked with leading the young Saudi squad in the Gulf Cup later this month was a member of the Croatia side that shocked the world in coming third at the 1998 World Cup. Jurcic was appointed in October to oversee Saudi-born players’ coaching and integration into the national team. Before arriving in the Kingdom, Jurcic led his native club Dinamo Zagreb to three Croatian league titles between 2008 and 2013. He also has experience managing club sides in Slovenia and Turkey.


If there is one player in the Gulf Cup squad who can already feel confident about his place on the flight to Moscow for the World Cup, it is the Al-Qadisiyah left-back. The 24-year-old has been a revelation in the league since last season and could even push for a starting spot in Russia next summer. A string of good performances in the competition would go a long way to convince Pizzi that Al-Obaid is the right man to start on the left side of his defense.


The star of the Al-Ettifaq team that won promotion to the top division two seasons ago and took the league by storm last season. Kanno is a physically imposing midfielder who is blessed with an impressive range of passing. However, since joining Al-Hilal in the summer, the 23-year-old failed to nail a starting spot. But Kanno can be just the type of player Saudi Arabia needs in the World Cup, if he can demonstrate his ability in the Gulf Cup, Pizzi may find it difficult to leave the midfielder behind.


The shortage of top class Saudi Arabian strikers has been a source of constant headache for national team managers over the past few years. Edgardo Bauza handed Al-Hazza his debut during the team’s Portugal tour last month and the Al-Ettifaq striker showed signs of promise, scoring in an official friendly.  The Gulf Cup will be his chance to challenge Mukhtar Fallatah for a place in the plane to Russia as he continues his rise from a virtual unknown two years ago to one of the country’s most important players.

‘My feelings? Mixed’: Sebastian Vettel clings on in desperate Lewis Hamilton pursuit as Kimi Raikonnen wins US Grand Prix

Updated 22 October 2018

‘My feelings? Mixed’: Sebastian Vettel clings on in desperate Lewis Hamilton pursuit as Kimi Raikonnen wins US Grand Prix

AUSTIN: Sebastian Vettel said he felt mixed emotions after keeping his slender title challenge alive by finishing fourth in Sunday’s United States Grand Prix, won by Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen.
The four-time champion, who started fifth on the grid after taking a three-place penalty, recovered from an opening lap spin to fight through the field in a tactical contest that left Lewis Hamilton frustrated in his bid to clinch his fifth drivers world title.
“My feelings? Mixed,” he said. “Happy. Really happy for Kimi. But not much for me. It should have been a better day.”
Vettel can only stop Hamilton taking his fifth drivers title next weekend in Mexico by winning the race and hoping Hamilton hits problems that keep him out of the top seven places.
He said he suffered a major blow when he clashed with Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo on the opening lap.
“I must have been in his blind spot. I’m not sure he saw me. The corner kept tightening and we hit. It was a big loss for me.”
Vettel’s disappointment took nothing away from a resurgent Ferrari’s satisfaction in recovering their mid-season pace, after abandoning several recent upgrades, and claiming a revitalising victory.
“I am very proud of them all,” said Ferrari team chief Maurizio Arrivabene.
“I was always proud of the guys and even more when we are winning races. It’s been hard for us recently and we had a race engineer pass away last weekend.... I have nothing more to add. It was great today. Thank you USA!“
Mercedes team chief Toto Wolff admitted that Ferrari had been faster than his team, as he had feared.
“We lacked the pace and I said don’t close it too early. They are very fast. Kimi winning is great for him and for Ferrari, so let’s go to the next race in Mexico now.
“It was difficult to overtake, but for us it was a strategy that got worse as it progressed. We need to re-think and see what we can do better. We put on a good show altogether and that’s what’s more important.”