JEDDAH: ARAB NEWS
Published — Saturday 22 December 2012
Last update 22 December 2012 5:57 pm
Football fans want the new president of the Saudi Football Federation (SFF), Ahmed Al-Eid, to take effective steps to bring back the Kingdom’s lost glory, which is currently 126th on the FIFA ranking list.
They do not want the first-ever elected president of the federation to make empty promises, as some others made in the past, a local newspaper reported yesterday. Al-Eid was elected by 32 votes against Khaled Al-Muammar, the only other contestant. He got 29 votes in the first round and 32 against 30 votes in the second round of polling held in Riyadh yesterday. The election committee also declared Muhammad Al-Nowaissir as deputy chairman of the board of directors, as no one challenged him.
“Al-Eid should find radical solutions to check the downward slide of our football by striving to understand exactly what ails this popular game. He should field teams that can regain the past glory of Saudi football,” a Saudi youth, Faisal Abdullah, said while congratulating Al-Eid.
Abdullah also lamented the present poor standard of football tournaments in the Kingdom, which he believed was an issue to be looked into.
Al-Eid has stepped in to the position earlier occupied by Prince Sultan bin Fahd and Prince Faisal bin Fahd. Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal was the president of the federation since 1967.
Another fan, Abdullah Al-Fifi, stressed the need for a better role of sports academies and football schools to attract and develop budding footballers.
“The golden age of the past has gone. We must build a new generation for the game,” he said. The humiliations of the national team began with its defeat in the Gulf and Asian Cups as well as its failure to qualify for the World Cup in 2010 in South Africa. The team also failed to qualify for the 2014 Brazil World Cup.
The team was defeated by Syria and Jordan while playing for the Asian Cup in Doha in 2011. Following the Doha debacle, Prince Sultan bin Fahd, president of the Youth Welfare, was relieved of his position on his own wish, and Prince Nawaf bin Faisal was appointed to that position.
Meshari Al-Balui, a Saudi youth, agreed with Al-Fifi and supported the idea of establishing football schools to promote the game. He also said the flaws in the running of current football clubs and tournaments should be rectified, so that talented footballers can come up.
On the other hand, Salem Asaad is of the view that problems of football clubs could be solved by removing delays in the payment of governmental grants to them. Raja Al-Balui said the Kingdom’s first-class football should be given greater attention with sufficient financial support.