New SFF president urged to take steps to bring back lost glory

Updated 22 December 2012
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New SFF president urged to take steps to bring back lost glory

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.


World Cup boost for Egypt as Mohamed Salah "is ready to play against Russia"

Updated 18 June 2018
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World Cup boost for Egypt as Mohamed Salah "is ready to play against Russia"

  • Liverpool star took part in full training
  • Egypt team manager says Salah is poised to make his World Cup bow

ST PETERSBURG: Mohamed Salah is a looming obstacle as Russia attempt to virtually secure their place in the knockout stages of the World Cup in Saint Petersburg on Tuesday.
Fears that poor performances from the home side could dampen enthusiasm in the host nation were blown away by a 5-0 demolition of Saudi Arabia in the opening game.
The seven-time African champions will pose a much tougher task, but a lot will depend upon Salah's fitness.
Liverpool star Salah has not featured since leaving the field in tears early in the Champions League final just over three weeks ago after landing heavily on his left shoulder and had to watch from the bench as Egypt lost 1-0 to Uruguay in their opening game.
Salah has been declared 100 percent fit by Egypt's team doctor and his agent, leaving little doubt he will be thrown back into action in the Pharaohs' hour of need.
However, as he returned to training on Saturday, Salah was seen by AFP reporters at Egypt's training camp in Grozny needing help from teammates to lift a training top over his head.
"Salah participated in training with his teammates for the entire session and he is ready to play against Russia according to technical staff," Egypt's team manager Ihab Leheta told FIFA.com.
Egypt coach Hector Cuper's decision not to risk Salah against Uruguay may have been influenced by the fact his side held out for 89 minutes before conceding to Jose Gimenez, by which time the Argentine had made all three of his substitutions.
"Russia's game is fateful and difficult because of our defeat against Uruguay," said Leheta. "Winning is our only choice".
If fully fit, the sight of Salah, who scored 44 goals in a remarkable debut season at Liverpool, will strike fear into the Russians.
Concerns Russia could become just the second host nation to bow out of the World Cup at the group stage after a seven-game winless run ahead of the tournament have been alleviated by a perfect start.
With Uruguay favourites to top the group, though, Russia are keen not to have to rely on getting something from their final group game against the two-time former world champions.
"The second game will be our most important one in the group stage," said Russia's deputy prime minister and former football federation president Vitaly Mutko after attending Russia's training session on Sunday.
A close ally of President Vladimir Putin, Mutko oversaw preparations for the tournament at a cost of more than $13 billion.
"In the first match, everyone saw how much the players cared. If we play up to our level, I don't see any problems."
Denis Cheryshev was Russia's hero against Saudi Arabia as he came off the bench to score twice.
And the Villarreal winger accepted it will be a more "interesting" clash if Salah is fit.
"If he's not there, does that mean our task becomes easy? Not at all," he told FIFA.com "If he plays, it will be hard but more interesting. He's one of the best and you always want to compete with the best and win."
Russia will be without one of their key players, with Alan Dzagoev expected to miss the rest of the tournament with a hamstring injury.