The Saudi team began their campaign for a gold medal in the
four-team competition among Saudi, Algeria, Kuwait and hosts Egypt on a
bright note. They beat Kuwait 8-6.
Vladmir Bajkovic, assistant coach of the Saudi national team, said the
team’s determination to win the silver medal helped a lot.“They
entered the match very confident and played very strong and though they
did not do their best they did very well,” he said. The team coach
said, “considering the Egyptians are getting paid monthly and trained
daily, it was hard to beat them and the silver medal is excellent.”
But Egypt threw a roadblock
down the path of the Saudis and finished the round robin event as the
only unbeaten team to clinch the gold medal, also beating Algeria 17-4.
The Egypt-Saudi match ended 8-4 in favor of the hosts. The Saudis wound up with a 2-1 card.
said the side had only two weeks of training because many of the good
Saudi players were not able to get the acceptance letter to leave their
work and undergo training camp. “They need more support from us, from
the media and from their work to enable them to reach the World Cup and
become professionals. We all need to cooperate,” he stressed.
Al-Deghaither, veteran water polo player at Al-Qadisiya club, missed
the event. “It would have been an honor for me to represent my country
but I had some difficulties and had to beg off, yet I made sure I
follow up with the team and attend all their matches here.”
Nasser said the Saudis definitely dominated the game though they had two injured players Khalid Al-Harbi and Saleh.
was not an easy game,” said Khalid Al-Harbi adding, “we excepted
Algeria to be tougher but thank God we managed to beat them with this
Goal scorer Ahmed Al-Shammari said he was happy
with the success and dedicated his medal to his Qadisiya teammate
Al-Deghaither. “We lowered our expectations to the silver medal after
the loss against Egypt and we prayed for it and did our best to get it.
The team was very relaxed and optimistic,” said Adel Al-Malki.
Salman, Egypt swimming champion in the sixties and former Saudi
national team technical consultant for 13 years, said Egypt was the top
seed in this competition, while Kuwait’s performance dipped. Saudi
Arabia he said used to be stronger, “ yet this team has some good
talents though I do not know their names very well but they need to be
supported and need more training camps to gain experience from playing
with other national teams abroad because this is what helped Egypt
reach the top.”