An investigation of the tremendous development in the junior sector in Saudi Arabia in recent years
Recently, the Saudi U-20 youth team won the Arab Cup, outperforming strong teams such as Egypt and Algeria, and two years ago, Al-Akhdar U-23 won the Asian Cup, the cup thanks to which Saudi Arabia will participate in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, unlike the distinguished levels offered by the rest of the teams.
Read also | The road to an Olympic medal .. between provoking youth and the importance of experiences
A great development has occurred at the level of the sectors of the Sunni groups in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in general in recent years. It has evolved if it reaps some of its successes during the current period, but it is certain that its greater success will be reflected in the future more.
On this development, the Arabic version of Goal has contacted a number of officials in various positions to talk more about this issue.
How did this big development happen?
start with Saudi coach Abdullah Asiri; Former assistant coach at Al Taawun Club, which attributed the development to the confidence granted by the Football Association to the national coaches, which increased their confidence in themselves and was reflected on the age groups in general, and in which the national coaches work without the presence of foreigners.
The success of a coach does not depend only on his efficiency, he may be a genius coach with players with limited capabilities, here achievements are not achieved, while perhaps a coach with limited ideas with players with high capabilities can achieve some successes, so he sees Players’ agent Walid Al-Rasheed The Saudi players are the ones with the first credit for the achievements.
وقال Rashid: “The Saudi player was known to have a talent that surpasses the rest of the other Arab nationalities, but he lacks certain things, but with his talent he is able to reach and achieve the goals required of him, in addition to the fact that he has increased more attention from officials on the Sunni sectors, specifically during the past five years, and this is the reason very important”.
The development of the age groups in the Kingdom is not only due to the youth sectors in the clubs, but also the contact of some of these young people with players in the first team in their clubs, as well as contact with foreign players, which further refined their talent, which is the point he talked about Fahd Bubshait, who owns a private football academy to discover talents.
bobchit He added: “We have a strong Sunni league with a high competition, so you find that the young Saudi player presents great levels with the national team, in addition to the participation of some players with the first team, which gives them experience to match and compete with the players of the continental teams.”
Read also | Ramadan and Saud .. Players from Egypt and Saudi Arabia are candidates for professionalism after the Olympics
Of course the clubs have a big role in all of this, about this he talked about Mohammed Al Harthy; The former director of the Sunni groups in Al-AhlyWith the help of God Almighty first of all, and then with the care of the clubs in recent years, most of them focus on the age group sector in order to prepare the players well and hone their talent from an early age.
He added: “This is positive, as competition has become present and strong in the competitions of the Sunni groups, and contributed to the strength of the Sunni teams in general and the youth team in particular, which achieved the Asian Youth Cup and the Arab Champions Cup at last.”
while wrapping up Faisal Atta; Presenter of “On Side”, This part, referring to development for several reasons, highlights the awareness of young players who, if they find it difficult to participate in their clubs, rush out to loan to other clubs, in search of a real opportunity.
he said atta: “I think that the development in the Sunni groups and the great government support witnessed by the sports sector in the Kingdom, in addition to the close follow-up by the Ministry of Sports in this particular file, in addition to the difficulty of competing for the slot in light of the presence of foreigners and the fact that most players are forced to leave their clubs to obtain Enough opportunities to participate, and we have seen a remarkable development in the quality of the young players.”
Unlimited support from the Crown Prince:
As we talked in the introduction, the development occurred with great support from the Crown Prince for various sports, and for football in particular. Perhaps the announced support of the Crown Prince to professional clubs to pay off debts, but what was hidden was greater.
All of our speakers in this investigation agreed on the important role of this support in the development of the system in general, the unlimited support for the advancement of Saudi football.
وقال AsiriThe support of the Crown Prince is strong and tangible in all sports, and we hope that we will see the results of this support in the future in our sport in general and in football in particular.
Minister Rashid: “The support is very excellent, as evidenced by the success of our team’s achievements, as well as the low average age of Saudi players in the league, and the first is an indication of that.”
As he goes on bobchit: “Support for athletes in general has no limits from our rational government, may God protect it, and this support reflected positively on the Sunni sectors, and the greatest example is the Mahad Academy, which will see the light soon.”
Al Harthy He continued on the hadith of his predecessors: “There is no doubt that sports in general in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and football in particular enjoy great and unlimited support from the wise leadership, in order to achieve achievements, and this support helped the clubs a lot in directing attention to the sector of the Sunni groups and not the first team Only, and its return will be positive in the coming years for the clubs in discovering and highlighting a number of players.”
As for atta He confirmed that the leaders did what they had to do and more, and now the ball is in the court of the Football Association and the players to complete the efforts successfully.
Is the Saudi Football Association moving to reduce foreigners in support of these young people?
The Saudi League In the Saudi League, clubs rely on seven foreign players, and sometimes the number increases to eight. This, of course, negatively affected these talents, who find it very difficult to impose themselves with the presence of foreigners.
The clubs, of course, by contracting with seven foreigners, do not put any of them outside the accounts except in rare cases, so how can a club contract with a player with millions and then sit him back up for the young player?
But recently, we also find that the foreign coaches of the teams are the ones who take the initiative to rely on talent. For example, we find that Al Hilal officials spoke more than once about his quest in the coming years to reduce contracts and rely on young players in the club, as well as the Brazilian Fabio Carelli; The technical director of the Jeddah Union, who has promoted more than one young player to the first team.
Asiri, Al-Rasheed and Bubshait, the trio agreed that the talented player succeeds in imposing himself on any formation, even if it is full of foreign players, refusing to reduce the number of foreigners, as it refines the talent of the locals and increases their capabilities.
Asiri He cited his opinion on the presence of young players in their teams who are essential with the presence of foreigners. The former assistant coach, Biskari Al-Qassim, continued: “Of course, the number of foreign players gave strength to the Saudi League, it may have reduced the chances of local players, especially young ones, but I see that the talented player imposes himself on No coach even with the presence of foreigners.
“Examples of this are many in our circles, for example Ali Al-Hassan, Abdul Rahman Gharib, Khaled Al-Ghannam, Abdul-Ilah Al-Omari, Hassan Timbukti, Ali Al-Asmari and others.”
As for Al Harthy He was already wishing to reduce the number of foreign players, but now he sees that if the reserve league is implemented, the problem of preferring foreigners over young people will be solved, so we added: “Currently, I do not think that the number of foreigners will be reduced, after the decision of the Saudi Football Association to establish a reserve league starting from the season.” The next, which will help young players take their chance to play, but before this decision I expected and hoped to reduce the number, but currently I do not think so.”
while demanded Presenter of “On Side” The Football Association deals transparently with the file of foreign players, so that the clubs have the opportunity to prepare for the future without any surprises that may occur, whether by increasing foreigners or reducing their number.
He continued: “The vision of the Football Association must be more transparent than it is now, as it must be clear to the fans of the sports community what future visions are expected from reducing or increasing foreigners and other decisions, so that there is a clear methodology and to raise the level of transparency so that the clubs can prepare for the next stage on best face.”
Success with the national teams and failure in the clubs:
If you look at the professional league, you will find that the majority, if not all of them are foreign coaches. As for the national coach, it appears if there is a temporary or emergency mission and then returns to leave by a decision from the club’s management. This is the approach taken by everyone in recent years.
Saleh Al-Mohammadi; The coach of the U-20 team led Al-Ahly for a temporary period, and although his results were positive, even the performance with him improved during that period, but he soon left and the foreign coach came.
So is Saad al-Shehri; The coach of the Olympic team, who won the 2019 Asian Cup and took him to the Olympics, you only find him temporarily in the professional league, so what are the reasons behind that?
Former assistant coach in cooperation I refer the matter to several points that may revolve around the whole issue:
1- Because of the failure to set goals and long plans from the club administrations, and thus they rush to the national coach if the results are not positive and not give him the full opportunity.
2- Public and media pressure on club administrations that the national coach does not have the ability and experience to lead teams in the Saudi Professional League.
3- The idea rooted in the sports street is that the national coach is only an emergency or temporary coach.
He concluded: “But God willing, in the coming period, these things will change, and the national coach can impose himself more broadly in the field of training.”
As for Good Players Agent He believes that the easiest solution for clubs to avoid criticism from the fans is to sign foreign coaches, adding that the pressures in clubs differ from national teams.
و .ضاف RashidThe club coach is completely different from the national team coach. The pressures on the national team coach are limited to a maximum of one or two months per year, in contrast to the club coach for eight or ten months, in addition to the clubs choosing the easiest solution for them, which is signing with a foreign coach. to deter public criticism.
As for bobchit He stressed that the success of the national coach with the national teams is due to the closeness of his culture to the players, and he said: “The national coach is very close to the Saudi player in thought, culture and habits, so he is able to succeed with him whenever this coach is highly qualified and has professionalism in the field. training”.
While Al Harthy He stressed that the national coach is before himself to be used in emergency situations only, despite his ability to succeed in the professional league as well as succeed in clubs if he continues with a team for a long time..
“I see from my personal point of view that the main reason behind the absence of national coaches in the professional league is due to the clubs themselves and the national coach himself. The clubs are afraid of the reaction of the masses if their tasks are assigned to a national coach and are afraid of the results, and the national coach allowed the clubs to use him in the event of an emergency, That is, in the middle of the season and not at the beginning, although if he assigns the national coach the training tasks since the beginning of the season and continues his work, this will help him a lot in presenting his training philosophy well and succeeding, God willing.
But Faisal Atta He put his hand on a completely different point from his predecessors, as he is convinced that the foreign coach is the most suitable for the professional league clubs, because foreigners are good at dealing with different mentalities, unlike the national coach, who succeeds in the national teams as similar mentalities with the local players.
He continued: “The Saudi Professional League has become one of the most difficult leagues in the region, and the quality of the players and stars in it requires high efficiency and qualification, in addition to the experience that enables dealing with various stars with different mentalities. Dealing with the momentum of local and foreign stars is not the same as dealing with local Sunni players.” .
Youth or experience?
On July 22, the Saudi U-23 team begins its journey in the Tokyo Olympics, an achievement achieved by the coach Saad Al-Shehri’s battalion, but there has been much talk during the past period about the over-aged trio, which the Olympic Committee allows each team to include in its list alongside young players.
Al-Shehri used the trio of Al-Hilal Salem Al-Dosari, Salman Al-Faraj and Yasser Al-Shahrani. There are those who see that it gives the opportunity to young people and does not use the trio over the age except in emergency situations, and there are those who see the presence of the trio on the field as a necessity, if the green wants to win a medal.
As for those who participated in our investigation, they all agreed on the need to combine experiences and youth, especially since the Olympic green fell into a strong group that includes Brazil, Germany and Côte d’Ivoire.
Asiri He said: “Certainly, the trio of experienced people will be taken advantage of, to provide the addition to the national team. This is the reason for their inclusion in the first place.”
and supported him RashidIn the situation of our national team facing the fiercest international teams, we will see all the experienced players in the starting lineup.
and increased them bobchitBalance is required in such international events. I think the trio of Salman Al-Faraj, Salem Al-Dosari and Yasser Al-Shahrani will be essential with Al-Akhdar in Tokyo.
و .كمل Al HarthyThe tournament system allows the teams to use the trio in the matches, and this gives any team technical experience, and we do not forget before that that the coach’s choice of these three players came for technical needs that greatly help him in drawing his technical plans for the matches, and I ask God – the Almighty – success for our national team in Olympics journey.
Finally, it was a conversation Faisal Atta: “Incorporating experiences and engaging them from the beginning of the match is necessary at least two of the trio, to allow young players to make the best use of the experiences, which contributes to raising the pace and performance of the new generation.”
In conclusion, according to what we are currently seeing in the youth sectors of Saudi clubs and what the Sunni teams are offering, the future of Saudi football is brilliant and calls for optimism that the next generation of Saudi players will carry the flag well and deservedly.