Saudi national football team gear up for friendlies against Venezuela, Bolivia

Saudi national football team gear up for friendlies against Venezuela, Bolivia
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Head coach and technical director Herve Renard. supplied
Saudi national football team gear up for friendlies against Venezuela, Bolivia
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Saudi national team players during their training session ahead of the friendly matches against Venezuela and Bolivia. supplied
Saudi national football team gear up for friendlies against Venezuela, Bolivia
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Saudi national team players during their training session ahead of the friendly matches against Venezuela and Bolivia. supplied
Saudi national football team gear up for friendlies against Venezuela, Bolivia
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Saudi national team players during their training session ahead of the friendly matches against Venezuela and Bolivia. supplied
Saudi national football team gear up for friendlies against Venezuela, Bolivia
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Saudi national team players during their training session ahead of the friendly matches against Venezuela and Bolivia. supplied
Saudi national football team gear up for friendlies against Venezuela, Bolivia
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Saudi national team players during their training session ahead of the friendly matches against Venezuela and Bolivia. supplied
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Updated 21 March 2023

Saudi national football team gear up for friendlies against Venezuela, Bolivia

Saudi national football team gear up for friendlies against Venezuela, Bolivia
  • Sessions have included skills training and mini matches between the Saudi players

Riyadh: The Saudi national football team are gearing up for friendly matches against Venezuela and Bolivia on March 24 and 28.

Head coach and technical director Herve Renard has been putting squad members through their paces at Prince Abdullah Al-Faisal Stadium in Jeddah in preparation for the games.

Sessions have included skills training and mini matches between the Saudi players.

Salem Al-Dawsari and Hassan Al-Tambakti took part in special exercise sessions under the supervision of medical staff, but Nawaf Al-Aqidi missed training after complaining of back pain.


Saudi U-15, over-15 female fencers complete season

Saudi U-15, over-15 female fencers complete season
Updated 03 June 2023

Saudi U-15, over-15 female fencers complete season

Saudi U-15, over-15 female fencers complete season

JEDDAH: The Saudi Fencing Federation concluded its 2022/2023 season on Friday with the Kingdom’s Fencing Championship (Diamond Round) for U-15 and over-15 women.

Ahmed Al-Sabban, the president of the federation, and Lubna Al-Omair, member of the board of directors, crowned the winners of the championship in which 170 players from 17 clubs participated at the Prince Abdullah Al-Faisal Stadium in Jeddah.

In the epee U-15 contest, Lamar Arslan (Al-Huda) won the gold medal while Dana Al-Saeed (Al-Shabab) came in second, and Watin Al-Toukhi (Al-Huda) came third. Fawzia Al-Khaibari (Al-Shabab) won the gold medal for the over-15s category, Shawq Al-Jazzar (Al-Ahly) came second, and Daei Al-Amiri (Al-Nahdha) won the bronze.

Antonia Carolina (Al-Nasr) won the gold medal in the foil category for over-15s, Aya Ammar (Al-Hilal) won silver and Lamed Al-Marri (Al-Nahdha) came in third. Over in the U-15s, Anahid Al-Khaibari (Al-Shabab) won the gold medal, Al-Jawhara Al-Marri (Al-Nahda) came in second place, and Jenan Al-Taher (Al-Nahdha) came third.

Taleen Al-Kidamani (Al-Shabab) was crowned with the gold medal in the U-15 sabre category, while Dhelaal Abdul Rahman (Al-Shabab) came second, and Lulu Al-Baqami (Okadh) came third. Al-Hasna Al-Hammad (Al-Hilal) won the gold medal in the sabre category for over-15s, Ruba Al-Masry (Al-Shabab) got silver, and Dana Al-Qahtani (Al-Shabab) got bronze.


Ronaldo and Al-Nassr to take on PSG during summer friendly in Japan

Ronaldo and Al-Nassr to take on PSG during summer friendly in Japan
Updated 02 June 2023

Ronaldo and Al-Nassr to take on PSG during summer friendly in Japan

Ronaldo and Al-Nassr to take on PSG during summer friendly in Japan
  • The clash between Al-Nassr, who finished second in the Roshn Saudi League, and PSG will be held in Osaka on July 25
  • Messi was not among the players PSG used to illustrate the tour announcement on their website

JAPAN: Cristiano Ronaldo and Saudi Arabia’s Al-Nassr will take on Paris Saint-Germain during their summer friendlies in Japan.
The clash between Al-Nassr, who finished second in the Roshn Saudi League, and PSG will be held in Osaka on July 25.
However, there will be no head-to-head between Ronaldo and old rival Lionel Messi, with the Argentine set to leave PSG.
Messi was not among the players PSG used to illustrate the tour announcement on their website.
Last summer PSG traveled to Japan to play three local clubs and were greeted by sell-out crowds, even for their training sessions.
They round off their Japan visit against Inter, who play Manchester City in the Champions League final, at Tokyo’s National Stadium on August 1.
PSG clinched a record 11th French title last week as Messi scored in a 1-1 away draw at Strasbourg.
PSG are scheduled to play J-League club Cerezo Osaka on July 28.
City, Bayern Munich and Celtic have also announced tours to Japan this summer.
(With inputs from AFP)


Cristiano Ronaldo reflects on first season with Al-Nassr, new life in Saudi Arabia

Cristiano Ronaldo reflects on first season with Al-Nassr, new life in Saudi Arabia
Updated 01 June 2023

Cristiano Ronaldo reflects on first season with Al-Nassr, new life in Saudi Arabia

Cristiano Ronaldo reflects on first season with Al-Nassr, new life in Saudi Arabia
  • The interview, which was published on the Saudi Pro League’s social media channels, comes at the end of the SPL season

RIYADH: Cristiano Ronaldo has shared his thoughts on playing and living in Saudi Arabia in his first full interview since joining Al-Nassr Football Club.

The interview, which was published on the Saudi Pro League’s social media channels, comes at the end of a campaign in which Ronaldo’s Riyadh club claimed second place following a closely fought battle for the title with new champions Al-Ittihad.

The Portuguese superstar stressed the positives and building toward next season despite his disappointment at missing out on the title.

He said: “Well, my expectation (at the start) was a little bit different. To be honest I expected to win something this year, but it is not always the way we think or the way we want; sometimes we need passion, consistency, and persistence to achieve the best things.

“So, I still believe that next year we will improve a lot. Let us say in the last five or six months the team has improved a lot. In the league, all the teams improved.

“It takes time sometimes, but if you believe and you think it is your goal, I think everything is possible.

“I expected to win something this year, but we didn’t, but next year I am really positive and confident that things will change, and we will go in a better way. So, let us believe that and work on that.”

(Supplied/Al-Nassr FC)

Ronaldo joined the club in January and has featured extensively in the SPL, making a significant contribution to the club’s performances with 14 goals in 16 matches.

He added: “The league is very good but I think we have many, many opportunities to still grow. The league is competitive, we have very good teams, very good Arab players.

“But they need to improve the infrastructure a little bit more, even the referees. The VAR system should be a little quicker. I think other small things need to improve. 

“But I am happy here, I want to continue here, I will continue here. And in my opinion if they continue to do the work that they want to do here, for the next five years, I think the Saudi league can be a top five league in the world.”

Regarding the biggest change following his move, the former Real Madrid and Manchester United star said: “One example is that in Europe we train more in the morning, but here we train in the afternoon or evening and in Ramadan we train at 10 at night. So, this is strange, but as I tell you these situations are part of an experience, memories.

“I like to live these moments because you learn with these things. It is difficult, but it is nothing I have not seen before. My experience so far is that Saudi fans really love football and like to live the life and it is good and I am so happy now.”

Saad Allazeez, Saudi Pro League’s vice chairman, recently said of the player: “The arrival of Cristiano always had the potential to be one of the most impactful and transformational in football history. And that has proved to be the case.

“He is a special footballer and a special person whose impact goes far beyond football. The ‘Cristiano Effect’ has definitely been felt. This season has been our biggest yet, with more spectators on match days, more followers and global viewing than ever before.

“The Saudi Pro League is now aired by 48 platforms and TV broadcasters in over 170 countries worldwide, and attendances at Al-Nassr matches have doubled year on year since Cristiano signed.

“Saudi Arabia is already a football-obsessed nation with over 80 percent of Saudi Arabia’s men and women either playing, attending or following football. Recent developments include the establishment of a professional women’s premier league and women’s national team and school girls league with 50,000 playing each week.

“And thanks to the new growth in the league’s popularity I’m sure other big names will look to follow in Cristiano’s footsteps and join the brilliant young homegrown talent who play in our league.”

(Supplied/Al-Nassr FC)

Asked about players joining the league, Ronaldo said: “If they are coming, big players and big names, young players, old players, they are very welcome because if that happens, the league will improve a little bit.”

He added: “Living in Saudi is very good if you want to come here to have fun, to see the culture, to eat well.

“The Saudis live more at night which I think is quite fun and interesting. If you see the city during the night, it’s very beautiful. And if you like food, come to Riyadh — the city probably has some of the best quality restaurants I have come across.

“The most beautiful experiences I’ve had here were when I was in Boulevard World. It was something I really enjoyed. I took all my family there. So far it has been a very good experience.

“The family are happy, the schools are very good, and things that the country is building for the future.

“I like to see different things, try different things and this is why I am here as well. The next place that I want to see is AlUla. I want to go as I know it’s very beautiful. And as we travel around the country, you see many good places.”

He added: “Thank you very much for supporting me here every day, not only in the games or in the stadium, but outside in the streets and the places that I go.

“I will be part of your world, your culture. I will be here and I hope I make the people enjoy it through my games, my performance, and winning things.

“Again, thank you for welcoming me, and I will try to give my best during the time that I am here.”


Argentinian footballer Ever Banega to leave Al-Shabab next year

Argentinian footballer Ever Banega to leave Al-Shabab next year
Updated 01 June 2023

Argentinian footballer Ever Banega to leave Al-Shabab next year

Argentinian footballer Ever Banega to leave Al-Shabab next year
  • Ex-Sevilla midfielder contented in Riyadh, hopes team can make fans happy in 2023-2024 season

RIYADH: Al-Shabab’s Argentine star Ever Banega is heading into his last season in the Roshn Saudi League after on Thursday announcing he would be leaving the club next year.
However, the 34-year-old former Sevilla midfielder, who joined Al-Shabab in January 2020, pointed out that he was contented in Riyadh and hoped that he and his teammates could make their fans happy during the 2023 to 2024 campaign.
In a statement to the league’s official broadcaster following the last match of the season against Damac, Banega said: “Next season will be my last with Al-Shabab. I am going through happy times in Riyadh.
“We are satisfied with what we have presented during this season from the beginning, and we are competing for the league, in addition to fighting the big clubs.
“The match that hurt us psychologically and reduced our chances in the competition was with Al-Ittihad that ended 2-1 to Al-Ittihad — after that match we went down,” the player added.
As well as Sevilla, Banega previously played for another Spanish club Valencia, and Italy’s Inter Milan.


Sports for All Federation recognized as national governing body for Functional Fitness in Saudi Arabia

Sports for All Federation recognized as national governing body for Functional Fitness in Saudi Arabia
Updated 01 June 2023

Sports for All Federation recognized as national governing body for Functional Fitness in Saudi Arabia

Sports for All Federation recognized as national governing body for Functional Fitness in Saudi Arabia
  • SFA now eligible to register athletes for iF3 international events
  • SFA established in 2018 to develop community sports in the Kingdom

RIYADH: The International Functional Fitness Federation on Thursday recognized the Saudi Sports for All Federation as the national governing body for functional fitness in Saudi Arabia.

SFA, the main body responsible for developing community sports in the Kingdom, was established in 2018. In line with Vision 2030, Saudi Arabia’s blueprint for economic and social reform, the federation is mandated to raise physical activity levels in the Kingdom.

Shaima Saleh Al-Husseini, managing director of the federation, said: “We are delighted to be recognized by iF3 as a member of the iF3 for functional fitness in Saudi Arabia. As part of our mission to drive community sports in the Kingdom, we have placed an emphasis on shining a light on the power of functional fitness, launching projects, and hosting events, such as SandClash, to encourage people to adopt healthier lifestyles. Functional fitness has grown tremendously over the years in Saudi Arabia, and we are determined to inspire more people and communities to take it up.”

She added: “The 2023 edition of our SandClash event attracted over 4,000 participants, with close to 800 athletes from 45-plus countries taking part in the two-day competition. Our future SandClash events promise to be even bigger, with more competitors and participants taking part, raising the bar for fitness-themed competitions and engagements in the region.”

Gretchen Kittelberger, president of the International Functional Fitness Federation, said: “The Saudi Sports for All Federation has been doing great work to promote and grow functional fitness in Saudi Arabia for several years. In addition to launching a diverse range of community-focused campaigns, state-of-the-art facilities, and youth programs, the Federation also hosts a wide selection of events, including the popular SFA SandClash: Saudi Arabia’s first and only official licensed Cross Fit competition event.

“Having seen the strides SFA has made to enhance Saudi sports culture, we are incredibly excited for the Federation to join iF3 and look forward to working with the Federation to continue advancing the growth of functional fitness in the Kingdom and wider region. Like iF3, SFA is also a member of TAFISA,” she added.

“We share much in common and are united by our unwavering belief in the power of functional fitness to help people of all ages lead healthier lives.”

“Together, we can make the sport even more accessible to all. Inspired by SFA’s innovative initiatives, we are excited to partner with the federation as it continues to serve as a champion and ambassador for functional fitness in Saudi Arabia and beyond.”

The SFA is now eligible to register athletes for iF3 international events. This season, the federation will be allotted quota spots, enabling the Federation to send athletes to worlds championships.