ISSN 2330-717X

Neglected World Of Saudi Sports – OpEd


By Saad Al-Dosari

There was a time when football teams from various countries used to dread the sight of our soccer players. Those facing Saudi football team used to prepare strategies to remain in the competition. Alas, those days are long gone.

Saudi sports in general and football in particular have somehow lost direction. We don’t have any clear-cut goals and no ambitions to reach new heights in the world of sports.

Can you remember any sports-related accomplishment during the past decade or so? No. We Saudis have not achieved anything in the world of sports during the past 10 years.

The fact of the matter is that sports, like any other business field or industry, needs long-term strategic plans and tactical teams for the proper implementation and execution of those plans. Hopes, good intentions, and haphazard plans do not usually lead to solid results. Such noble notions may lead to a victory here or there, but definitely not long-term results.

At the heart of the Saudi sports problem is a total lack of vision and long-term objectives. Let’s take football as an example; back in the 1980s wining the continental cup was the nation’s top priority. Although the whole scene was amateur in the sense that there were no professionally dedicated players and administrators in the Saudi federations, there was a clear common goal that every one shared i.e. winning the Asian cup.

By the late 1980s, a new common objective started to emerge, what about making it to the World Cup?

Those were the days when the Saudi team was invincible fueled by the common desire of winning. And guess what, they made it to the World Cup, not only once but for four times in a row.

However, with the beginning of the new century, the Saudi sports scene started to go hazy. A lot of changes started to creep in like no shared goals, managerial and strategic chaos, accompanied by frenzy media coverage.

Saudi sports world has been on the decline since then. No achievement, weak teams, poor management and frenzy media that is in most of times inciting fans and fueling hooliganism.

The only way to deal with the current situation is to treat it as business. We need a foolproof strategy to turn things around. We should follow up results and return on investments, select a team of professional players and instill in them the will to win.

While drawing up plans for the revival of Saudi sports, particularly football, we should try to employ best-possible management practices. From the selection of coach and team to the training of players, we need to adopt of a scientific and transparent manner.

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Arab News

Arab News is Saudi Arabia's first English-language newspaper. It was founded in 1975 by Hisham and Mohammed Ali Hafiz. Today, it is one of 29 publications produced by Saudi Research & Publishing Company (SRPC), a subsidiary of Saudi Research & Marketing Group (SRMG).

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