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.

4 Comments:

Blogger Bird of Shadows said...

Hello Gramsci and welcome to Saudi Footbal :)

The game you watched between the white and black team was a leuge game. It was a 20th round in the league (second before last). The white and blue team (Al-Helal) is in second place and needs to win that game to stay in contention for the league titile. They have 2 games left and are 4 points behind the league leader (Al- Ittihad) which they play in the final game of the season on April 13. If you are going to be in the region on that date, you should watch that game, it is going to be the match of the year. Last year, Al-Ittihad beat Al-Hilal in the final game for the league title, and this year game is a widely anticipated re-match. Morever, Al Ittihad will be playing in the AFC championship games in the group rounds on April 9th, maybe you want to watch that too.

I hope you are enjoying your time in the region, thanks for taking a look at our football :)

2:16 AM  
Blogger Antonio G said...

I *love* my readers. Thanks, Bird of Shadows!

I'm leaving Riyadh on the 6th and so won't be able to see the game you mentioned, but I will be in Doha to watch Al Sadd play in the Champions League on the 9th.

12:40 PM  
Blogger the ink-stained toe-poker said...

I've just visited your site for the first time.

Your right there is too much happening in world football to keep up. I didn't know anything about football in the middle east until I read this post. So thanks.

More importantly as a Scottish football fan, it was great to see someone not giving Gretna a hard time. You're absolutely right, media darlings until it went pear shaped, now they're lepers. The players are literally playing for their careers.

great posts, great site.
keep up the good work.

6:54 AM  
Blogger Jake said...

Hello my fellow Gramsci-lover. I can't find a contact email address for yourself. I work for New African Soccer magazine. Get in touch I have a proposal for you... mrjakebrown@googlemail.com

7:05 PM  

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