Friday, April 04, 2008

Watching Football in Saudi Arabia

Liverpool v Arsenal three times in one week, so to avoid intra-family strife I have again fled the continent. And so to today's question: does anyone here know anything about Saudi football? Like what day they play matches here? Or what day they play in Qatar?

There's a hell of a lot of football on TV considering it's 2:30 in the morning. Right now, two channels are showing last weekend's matches from Europe (a French league roundup and Siena v. Sampdoria), one is showing Barcelona-Schalke, and one is showing a replay of what I take to be a Saudi match from earlier this week (although it's possible it;s an AFC Champions League match between two Arab teams...i really have no way of knowing). I have no idea who the teams are, though speaking to some guys on the plane, it seems that the Cup final was played earlier this week. It's a white team against a black team (possibly Al-Hilal against Al-Shabib) and it's 1-1 in the 85th minute.

There's almost no one in the stands, but the announcer is screaming as if it's the late stages of the World Cup final.

Goalkeeping styles appear to be quite interesting - let's just say that Barthez looks conservative compared to these guys. Also, some of the players' beards on display are really quite fearsome.

Well, it's just finished 1-1 and the white team seems very distraught, as if they;ve lost or something. Guess it wasn't the Cup final. I don't think I've ever seen a football match where I've understood so little about what's going on. The post match analysis looks much as I imagine Match of the Day would, if all the guests were wearing bright white thobes with headdresses and slouching a lot.

Now I've switched channels and the channel that was showing French highlights has now moved on to show Goals of the Week from the Indian league. Oh, and now they've cut to Beckham's goal yesterday in LA.

There really is far too much football in the world to keep up with.