Local teams register seven non-Saudi footballers born in KSA
JEDDAH: The Saudi Football Federation (SAFF) announced recently that seven local clubs have each signed a non-Saudi player born in the Kingdom.
The move results from an initiative launched by the Saudi General Sports Authority (GSA) in September, when GSA president, Turki Al-Asheikh, announced that a committee had been established to uncover talented footballers who were born in Saudi Arabia, but were not Saudi nationals.
The committee consists of a number of former international Saudi footballers and reports directly to Al-Asheikh.
Applications were immediately opened for Saudi-born, non-national players aged 18-28, who underwent physical assessment and skill testing at Jeddah’s King Abdullah Sports City, the Leaders Preparation Institute in Riyadh, Prince Abdullah bin Jalawi Sports City in Al-Ahsa and finally in Jazan. Over 8,000 players reportedly applied.
In a recently held press conference, the SAFF announced that seven local clubs had benefited from the program, as seven talented players signed their first contracts.
Al-Nassr signed 18-year-old right back Salem Ali Yahya for SR500,000, ($162,600). twentyyear-old playmaker Ahmed Hadi Bulkhair signed for Al-Ittihad player for SR200,000. League leader Al-Hilal agreed to a SR100,000 contract with 24-year-old right winger Ahmed Ashraf Al-Faki. Another right winger, 23-year-old Moussa Issa Mustafa, signed for Al-Faisaly on the same deal. Al-Battin and Al-Raed respectively signed SR100,000 contracts with 20-year-old right back Mohammed Bashir and 21-year-old goalkeeper Abdul-Bassit Abdullah. Finally, 23-year-old defender Ahmed Imaduddin Andijani signed for Al-Faiha for SR105,000.
Speaking to Arab News, Khalaf Melfi, a pundit for “Al-Montasaf” sports show on Al-Ekhbariya network, explained that, during the winter registration window, each team in the Saudi Professional League is allowed to sign just one non-Saudi born in the Kingdom, but teams in the lower division can register two.
Melfi added that these players could play for the Saudi national team.
“In fact, some of them participated on the Saudi national team at the last Gulf Cup of Nations,” he said.
King Salman chairs the Cabinet session in Riyadh on Tuesday. (SPA)
A group photo of seven non-Saudi players who signed their first contracts.