Former Liga winger dons white coat to take on coronavirus

Football globetrotter Toni Dovale has changed his cleats and the ball for the white coat in a pharmacy to contribute his bit in the fight against the novel coronavirus pandemic. (AFP)
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Updated 29 March 2020

Former Liga winger dons white coat to take on coronavirus

Journeyman footballer Toni Dovale put his football boots to one side and slipped into a pharmacist’s white coat in the front line struggle against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Spain.
The 29-year-old pharmacy graduate and former top-level sportsman had been playing football for a Thai club, but was visiting his family in Spain when the COVID-19 pandemic took hold.
So he decided to pitch in his “grain of sand” against the virus using the studies which he had yet to put into practice due to his passion for football.
“I really was packing my bags to go back when things got complicated,” said Dovale .
Travel restrictions trapped Dovale in his native La Coruna in the Atlantic coast region of Galicia, where he started his football career with nearby Celta Vigo.
Although Dovale also completed his university studies in pharmacy four years ago, he had never actually worked in the field.
Now with the world of sport in limbo the footballer realized the time was ripe to use his studies to help his homeland.
“I was playing in Asia then; pharmacy is different there and I was never in Spain long enough to work,” he says, “With football stopped and travel banned I said to myself ‘get some practical experience and do your bit’.”
COVID-19 is ravaging Spain with a death toll of over 4,800 and some 64,000 registered cases of infection.

We’re in a really frightening situation. Those of us working with the public are afraid, and the people who come to us for advice are afraid too.

Toni Dovale, Footballer

There is hope of course with around 10,000 people already cured of the virus in Spains for multimedia clients “We’re in a really frightening situation. Those of us working with the public are afraid, and the people who come to us for advice are afraid too,” says Dovale, who is working in a pharmacy run by his family.
He has gloves but no mask, and does not appear ready to lose his smile any time soon.
“We all know we are exposed, that this is a pandemic and a complicated situation,” he says.
“But we all know too that our behavior in complicated situations defines who we are, and for me I need to put fears for my own safety to one side and help in any way that I can.
“There are shortages of many things and we are struggling to get enough of the simple things like thermometers, paracetamol, gloves and hand gels.”
Dovale has played football for Spanish top flight clubs Leganes and Rayo Vallecano, Sporting Kansas City in the United States and also Bengaluru in the Indian Super League before moving to Thailand.
“Right now I’m the same as everyone else in that I train at home jumping over the furniture,” he jokes.
“I start at 7 a.m. and I use whatever I can including bottles of water and stuff like that. Then I go downstairs to the pharmacy.
“I hope this is over as soon as possible and that I can go back to playing football again.”
“Right now though everything is up in the air and I have no idea when sports will get going again over there (in Asia) or when we Europeans will be allowed to even travel again.
“I have no idea how this is going to pan out. Let’s just hope it’s all over soon and I can get back to my normal life playing football.”


WWE names Bandar Al-Mashhadi MENA Vice President and General Manager

Updated 04 June 2020

WWE names Bandar Al-Mashhadi MENA Vice President and General Manager

  • Al-Mashhadi will lead WWE’s strategic business initiatives and day-to-day operations in the MENA region
  • He will also manage local operations for the company’s 10-year partnership with the Saudi General Entertainment Authority

RIYADH: WWE announced on Thursday the appointment of Bandar Al-Mashhadi as the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Vice President and General Manager.  

Al-Mashhadi will lead WWE’s strategic business initiatives and day-to-day operations in the MENA region and work with partners across all of WWE’s lines of business, including television, live events, marketing, sponsorship, advanced media, licensing and merchandising. He will also manage local operations for the company’s 10-year partnership with the Saudi General Entertainment Authority.

“We are excited to welcome Bandar to our international leadership team and confident that his experience in managing successful partnerships in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East will have a significant impact on WWE’s continued growth,” said James Rosenstock, WWE Executive Vice President, International. “We look forward to Bandar leading WWE’s efforts in this important region for our company.”

Al-Mashhadi has more than 20 years of experience as an executive in Saudi-based companies. He spent the past six years at OSN, most recently as Managing Director, leading implementation of the broadcaster’s corporate strategy in Saudi Arabia. During this time he also served a one-year deployment as Advisor to the Minister of Media in Saudi Arabia, leading multiple Vision 2030 initiatives including the privatization of the Saudi News Network.

Earlier in his career, Al Mashhadi spent more than a decade at BAE Systems in Saudi Arabia, rising to Director of Portfolio Management and undertaking strategic leadership placements with joint venture partners.