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.


IPL gets government clearance for UAE edition

Updated 10 August 2020

IPL gets government clearance for UAE edition

  • Due to the rising coronavirus cases in India, the 13th edition of the Twenty20 tournament is scheduled to take place between Sept. 19 and Nov. 10 in Sharjah, Abu Dhabi and Dubai
  • The world’s richest cricket league will be played outside India for the third time after being held in South Africa in 2009 and the UAE in 2014 because it clashed with the national elections

NEW DELHI: The Indian Premier League has received final clearance from the country’s government to host this year’s edition in the United Arab Emirates, its chairman told AFP on Monday.
Due to the rising coronavirus cases in India, the 13th edition of the Twenty20 tournament is scheduled to take place between September 19 and November 10 in Sharjah, Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India confirmed this month that the league will be shifted outside its home country, and IPL chief Brijesh Patel said he had received the official confirmation from the government.
The world’s richest cricket league will be played outside India for the third time after being held in South Africa in 2009 and the UAE in 2014 because it clashed with the national elections.
IPL is searching for a new lead sponsor after Chinese phone maker Vivo pulled out of this edition amid a backlash after a deadly border clash between the two countries in June.
The tournament normally starts in March, but was repeatedly postponed this year because of the pandemic.
India currently has over two million coronavirus cases, the world’s third highest figure.