Al-Hilal face fight to keep star Syrian Omar Khribin

Syria and Al-Hilal forward Omar Khribin was named Asian Player of the Year in 2017
Updated 08 February 2018
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Al-Hilal face fight to keep star Syrian Omar Khribin

LONDON: Saudi Arabian giants Al-Hilal are set to face an end-of-season fight to keep hold of Omar Khribin with a number of Chinese Super League clubs mulling over a summer move for the Syrian star.
Big-spending Hebei CFFC, Shanghai Shenhua and Tianjin Quanjian are in the running to sign one of the Middle East’s hottest properties in the summer transfer window with Arab News understanding that the 24-year-old is open to a move east.
Al-Hilal signed the forward on a permanent deal in January 2017, for around $11.5 million. His performances have gone from strength to strength ever since, for both club and country.
“A fee of around $15 million is being talked about, though it would take place in the summer at the earliest,” a senior official at the Syrian Football Association told Arab News.
Khribin spearheaded Syria’s attempt to qualify for this summer’s World Cup, and his performances on the Road to Russia, as well in as the 2017 AFC Champions League, have won him plenty of admirers in Beijing, Shanghai and elsewhere.
In the final round of qualification, Syria were placed in the same group as China and performed well, narrowly missing out on an automatic spot in Russia to finish third behind South Korea, before losing in a playoff to Australia.
Khribin was the leading goal scorer in the AFC Champions League, scoring 10 goals as the Riyadh giants reached the final only to lose narrowly to Urawa Reds of Japan in November.
Such form saw him named Asian Player of the Year, beating off strong competition from China’s own Wu Lei and Omar Abdulraham of the UAE.
“There are a number of Chinese clubs looking at the situation,” a leading Chinese agent told Arab News.
“Some already have a full quota of foreign players so the summer transfer window would be the earliest they could make a move, though there is also the possibility of waiting until the end of the season.”
It has become more difficult for Chinese Super League teams to sign foreign players for more than $7 million, after the implementation of the so-called “transfer tax” in 2017. Clubs that are in debt must pay an amount equal to the transfer fee into a football development fund.
Khribin would not be the first Syrian in the league. Firas Khatib signed for Shanghai Shenhua in 2013 and earned plenty of fans with his goals and all round attacking play in the season-and-a-half spell in China’s commercial capital.
Al-Hilal declined to comment.


FIVE OTHER ARABS WHO COULD SHINE IN CHINA

OMAR AL-SOMA: Another Syrian forward who plays his club football in Saudi Arabia and also has lots of admirers across Asia. Chinese clubs are perhaps the only ones able to afford his talents.

ALI MABKHOUT: The 27-year-old striker has spent his entire career with Al-Jazira in the UAE. He could be tempted east by the prospect of a new challenge.

FAHAD AL-MUWALLAD: The exciting winger has been sent to Spain for some La Liga experience with Levante, and once that stint is over, his exciting talents would go down well in China.

MOHAMED ELNENY: The defensive midfielder has been with Arsenal since 2016, but while the Eygptian has made more than 30 appearances for the Gunners, he is not an automatic starter.

HUMAM TARIQ: The talented Iraqi playmaker has been around for years despite being just 21. He lacks a little consistency and a move to China could do him good.


Sri Lanka’s Rangana Herath to retire from international cricket after Galle Test against England

Updated 22 October 2018
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Sri Lanka’s Rangana Herath to retire from international cricket after Galle Test against England

  • Sri Lanka Cricket said in a statement on Monday that Herath announced his decision at a meeting with cricket board officials
  • The 40-year-old Herath made his test debut in 1999 and has played 92 tests with 430 wickets

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka spin bowler Rangana Herath will retire from international cricket next month after the first Test against England.
Sri Lanka Cricket said in a statement on Monday that Herath announced his decision at a meeting with cricket board officials.
“We respect and support Rangana’s decision, even though his retirement will be a big loss for Sri Lanka Cricket,” SLC chief executive Ashley de Silva said.
The 40-year-old Herath made his Test debut in 1999 and has played 92 Tests with 430 wickets. He has already retired from shorter formats.
Despite a promising start to his career, Herath’s chances to represent Sri Lanka were limited for the next decade because of the presence of record-breaking bowler Muttiah Muralitharan in the team.
Herath, however, persisted with good performances in domestic cricket and by playing for clubs in England.
He was recalled unexpectedly to the national team for a test match against Pakistan while playing in England in 2009 and immediately made an impact with a match-winning performance. It marked the beginning of a highly successful second phase of his career during which he took on the mantle of a match winner from Muralitharan, who retired with 800 Test wickets in 2010.
During the second phase, Herath played in 78 Tests in nine years and took 394 wickets to become the most successful left arm spinner in Test cricket history. He is 10th in the list of highest wicket takers in Test matches.
Herath has 74 wickets in one-day internationals and 18 wickets in Twenty 20 internationals.
The first Test against England will begin in Galle on Nov. 6.