Saudi Gazette report
RIYADH — Italian coach Roberto Mancini, the new head coach of the Saudi Arabian national football team, revealed that the upcoming AFC Asian Cup will be a cherished goal for him.
This comes after he officially signed on Monday his contract with the Saudi Football Federation President Yasser Al-Misehal to lead the Saudi national team until 2027.
In a press conference in Riyadh, Mancini said: “Our goal is to win the Asian Cup. We will play four friendly matches and have 20 days to prepare for the tournament, despite being aware of the presence of many strong teams.”
Former Italy national team coach Mancini will take over the position from Frenchman Hervé Renard, who parted ways with the Saudi team after a three-year tenure. Mancini expressed his happiness at being chosen for the role, saying “I am proud to lead the team.”
Al-Misehal emphasized that “We took a little longer time to finalize the coach’s appointment, and everyone knows the importance and sensitivity of this matter. It deserved the necessary time to be settled in a distinctive way.”
He added: “We are proud of successfully attracting a global coaching talent, a coach who has achieved great accomplishments and still possesses a strong passion for the game. The negotiations were smooth and didn’t take much time.”
Mancini disclosed that the next ten days are crucial for him, saying “We will assess the players and we have also been watching many club matches in recent days.”
As for the Saudi national team’s ambitions after his appointment, Mancini commented: “I’m not a magician. We have exceptional talents, and with exceptional work, we can achieve our goals.”
He added: “We have good players, and the previous coach did great work. In the coming period, we must translate our discussions into reality on the field.”
Regarding the Saudi team’s match against Argentina in the World Cup, Mancini said: “The goals were fantastic, and the Saudi national team displayed a remarkable performance in that match.”
Mancini concluded “We want to be among the best teams in Asia and create a fantastic environment for us and the players.”
Al-Misehal also confirmed that Mohamed Ameen, who worked as an assistant to former coach Renard, will continue in his role with the national team.
Regarding the speculation about Brazilian Romarinho, and the possibility of him being granted Saudi citizenship, Al-Misehal clarified that “Romarinho is a remarkable player, and the citizenship issue is within the domain of other specialized authorities. Currently, there’s nothing.”
He added: “Whenever we see this matter, with the approval of the relevant authorities, we can consider it.”