Tunisia coach says Arab teams need to ‘work harder and improve their performances’

Tunisia's coach Nabil Maaloul feels Arab nations have a long way to go before they can compete properly at a World Cup. (AFP)
Updated 29 June 2018
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Tunisia coach says Arab teams need to ‘work harder and improve their performances’

  • Tunisia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Morocco all exit at the group stage
  • 'We need to have more of our players in professional leagues'

SARANSK, Russia: Tunisia failed to reach the knockout stage of the World Cup at the fifth time of asking in Russia and coach Nabil Maaloul says they will continue to struggle on the biggest stage without drastic changes to the game in the country.
While the North Africans won their first World Cup game in 40 years on Thursday, a 2-1 win over new boys Panama, it counted for little after defeats to England and Belgium.
Maaloul said Tunisia and the other Arab countries at the tournament — Egypt, Morocco and Saudi Arabia — were just not equipped for success.
“We have four Arab teams that are not yet at the required level for the tournament, they still have to work harder and improve their performances,” said Maaloul.
“In order to do that, we need to have more of our players in professional leagues so they can learn and grow.”
All four sides exited the tournament in the first round, winning just two games between them, and no Arab country has ever reached the last eight.
“I don’t think we have high-quality performance, we need to change our lifestyle because it is not in line with high-level football, we need to change the way we train,” he said.
“We need two more generations to reach (the top) level of performance in terms of fitness and physical strength. We are far from the required level.”


Saudi weightlifter Mansour Al-Saleem wins record 3 Asian gold medals

Updated 21 April 2019
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Saudi weightlifter Mansour Al-Saleem wins record 3 Asian gold medals

  • Al-Saleem won three gold medals in the snatch, jerk and combination in the 55kg weight category
  • The competition in Ningbo, in China's eastern province of Zhejiang, will continue for the next 8 days

RIYADH: Saudi national Mansour Abdulrahim Al-Saleem won three gold medals in the snatch, jerk and combination, ranking the first in the 55 kg weight category, at the Asian Weightlifting Championships in China.

He lifted 122 kilograms to head the standings, with Kazakhstan’s Arli Chontey and Malaysia’s Azroy Hazalwafie following on 113kg and 112kg, respectively.

The clean and jerk discipline saw Al-Saleem again head the leaderboard on 140kg.

Hazalwafie lifted just four kilograms less in second, while Sri Lanka’s Dilanka Isuru Kumara was third on 135kg.

Al-Saleem’s efforts in both disciplines saw him convincingly clinch the overall title with a combined 262kg.

He finished ahead of Hazalwafie on 248kg, while Chontey placed third on 246kg.

The champion set a new achievement by winning the first Asian gold medal in weightlifting for the Kingdom.

The president of the Saudi Weightlifting Federation, Mohammed Al-Harbi, thanked King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, sports officials and the Saudi people for supporting the field, which led to “such a great achievement.”

Amidst an arena full of a host of Olympic and international champions, Saudi Arabia’s national anthem was played and the Kingdom’s flag was raised, as Al-Saleem praised the ability of Saudi sportsmen in all international and regional sports sectors.

A further eight days of competition will continue for the next 8 days in China's eastern city of Ningbo, in Zhejiang province. Medals will be won across 20 categories, 10 for men and 10 for women.