Lo­cal teams reg­is­ter seven non-Saudi foot­ballers born in KSA

Arab News - - SAUDI ARABIA - MO­HAMMED AL-KINANI

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.

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