Juan Antonio Pizzi in search of firepower for Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia coach Juan Antonio Pizzi is on the lookout for attacking talent.
Updated 30 January 2018

Juan Antonio Pizzi in search of firepower for Saudi Arabia

LONDON: Saudi Arabia coach Juan Antonio Pizzi said he will be scouring the Saudi Professional League in search of a goalscoring striker to solve what he describes as “a deficiency” in the team’s attack after he named his squad for Saudi Arabia’s international friendly against Iraq in Basra next month.
The Green Falcons scored just two goals in 270 minutes of football during a camp in Portugal under former coach Edgardo Bauza and scored only 17 goals in 10 matches during the third and final round of World Cup qualifying. Only six of those goals were scored by strikers, Al-Nassr’s Mohammad Al-Sahlawi leading the way with two. Pizzi, a forward himself during his playing days, knows he needs to find a cutting edge up front if his Saudi Arabia team are to make an impression in Group A at this summer’s World Cup.
“We know about the deficiency in attack we have in the team but in our opinion all the players here, the doors are open for them to be with us and we will attend matches in the Saudi league and look at all the players and all the strikers,” Pizzi said.
“All the players here that want to play, will be with us and we will call them all up. But that does not mean the first squad list at the training camp will be the ones at the World Cup. They have a long way to go and we have a long time to look at the players and hopefully we will select the best players who will perform well at the World Cup.”
Pizzi is yet to take charge of a game since replacing Bauza but spent all of last week with 25 players at a Riyadh training camp.
“The experience of the first training camp has been a very good one, we are very happy because all of the players were present so we could get to know them,” he said.
“It was a very good experience and hopefully in the second training camp, the experience will be the same and we will have more players. For sure we will converse with them and we will be present to watch the players in the Saudi league.
“Fundamentally the first training camp was to get to know the players, to understand the style of play, what they needed, to have a look at their capacities and capacity so we wanted the first training camp to be without a friendly match but in the second training camp there will be a friendly match.”
The Green Falcons will reconvene on Feb. 21 for another training camp followed by a friendly with Iraq in Basra six days later. Pizzi, who used to be in charge of Chile, is pleased with what he saw.
“For us the capabilities and capacities of the players are of a high ability and they have good ability with the ball and play in a very good way and we have shown them our ideas and the style of play which hopefully they will accept and learn,” he said.
Pizzi has coached in Argentina, Peru, Spain and Chile and encountered his fair share of problems. He is hoping for a smoother ride in charge of the Green Falcons.


Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince organizes flights to carry Al-Hilal fans to Japan for Champions League final

Updated 14 November 2019

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince organizes flights to carry Al-Hilal fans to Japan for Champions League final

  • Al-Hilal secured a 1-0 win over the Japanese club in the first leg on Saturday in Riyadh
  • The crown prince’s decision comes as a result of his support for Saudi Arabian football in the AFC championship

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman has ordered four planes to transport Al-Hilal fans to Japan to support the club in their AFC Champions League final second leg match against the Urawa Red Diamonds.

Al-Hilal secured a 1-0 win over the Japanese club in the first leg on Saturday in Riyadh. The return leg is in Saitama, near Tokyo on Nov. 24.

The Saudi Press Agency said the crown prince’s decision comes as a result of his support for Saudi Arabian football in the AFC championship and to boost the morale of the team to seal the title.

The Saudi General Sport Authority have begun to coordinate with Al-Hilal’s administration to arrange for transporting fans to Japan.