LONDON: Saudi Arabia’s World Cup preparations have been given a boost following the news that Nawaf Al-Abed has returned to the Kingdom to step up his recovery following surgery.
Al-Abed had been struggling for some time with a groin problem before he was forced off after just 14 minutes of the Saudi Professional League game with Ettifaq on Jan. 8. He was sent to France for treatment and underwent surgery at the hands of Dr. Gilles Reboul on Jan. 17. The trip and the surgery was paid for by the General Sports Authority, which is a sign of his importance to the national team.
Al-Abed, 28, has been continuing his post-op rehabilitation in France but has now returned to Riyadh to continue his recovery. He was on the sidelines at the King Saud University Stadium on Sunday watching the team prepare for the AFC Champions League tie with Al-Ain on Tuesday.
“Nawaf Al-Abid arrived yesterday in Riyadh coming from France after completing the first stage of his recovery and rehab process,” read a club tweet.
The news will be welcomed by Al-Hilal coach Ramon Diaz and national team boss Juan Antonio Pizzi. Diaz will need the playmaker to help his side have a real crack at the Asian Champions League while Pizzi is certain to name Al-Abed in his World Cup squad and possibly even in his starting XI.
Al-Abed has made 36 appearances for Saudi Arabia, scoring seven, including four in World Cup qualifying.