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Saudi Arabia building team with an eye on 2010 World Cup

Written by: Staff
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Bangalore, Oct 24 (UNI) With a view to build a stronger outfit for the 2010 and 2014 World Cups, two-time winner Saudi Arabia has brought a bunch of talented boys who have undergone a rigorous 18-month build up for the Asian Youth (Under-20) International Football Championship league-cum-knockout matches, beginning here from October 29.

Speaking to mediapersons after the team's practice in Bangalore District Football Association grounds, Saudi Coach Gilsen Nunes said the country had an elaborate plan in mind to build a team that could face the strong teams in the senior level better. Hence, the team had been preparing for the event since the last 18 months and players were eagerly looking forward for the tournament to begin.

Saudi Arabia had won the tournaments in 1984 and 1992 when it was an under-19 tourney.

The Brazilian born coach said Saudi Arabia, which was placed in Group 'D' along with Iran, Malaysia and Vietnam, arrived here last night and had the first feel of the turf this morning and later again in the evening.

Asked about the strengths of the team, he said ''these are only kids. They are only trying to gain international exposure. To prove the point, it is important they play in international tournaments.

However, with the talent we have, our opponents will certainly respect us in Group D.'' About injuries, Nunes said all the players were keeping good health and no player was in the injury list.

He said the ground looked okay. ''Officials are doing their job.

I had a look at the other ground also -- Sree Kanteerava stadium.

They are trying to do their best.'' About the weather condition, Nunes said ''We have come only yesterday. Whatever the condition or the weather we have to play at our best and this is our aim. It was a tiring journey. Only today we had a workout, from tomorrow we will have full time practice till October 26.'' Eight teams in Group C and D would play matches in the city, which would also host two quarterfinals. The tournament would begin on October 29.

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