Mohammed Abdullah Al Abdali, Head Coach of the Saudi Arabia U-16 national team, has set his sight nothing less than reviving the winning memories from the 80’s when the youngsters from the nation lifted the AFC U-16 Championship silverware for the last time.
Saudi Arabia won the AFC U-16 Championship twice in four years in the 80’s (1985 and 1988) but since then the coveted silverware has been eluding them.
“It has passed on to generations since 1989. We, obviously, want to go back to our country with the trophy,” Mohammed Abdullah Al Abdali sounded pretty affirmative about getting back to the winning days.
Even the astute gaffer could not hesitate to vent out that there is “high expectation in our country and nothing less than the silverware would serve the purpose.”
“We are participating with pressure and we know it’s going to be a tough task for us,” he said at the official pre-tournament press conference.
The boys from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia took a resounding lead against IR Iran in the Group A opener, only to concede thrice in the second half to slip the match. Al Abdali stated that they “we will learn from this.”
“We could have scored not just at the end of the game, but halfway through the second half. If you don’t score then you get punished, but hopefully, we will learn from this,” he said.
Saudi Arabia play India in their next AFC U-16 Championship India 2016 match on September 18.
“We know every match is going to be tough but we have set our target for the FIFA U-17 World Cup. Hopefully, we see you again next year in Goa,” a determined Al Abdali asserted.
(Report & Photo courtesy: AIFF Media)