Ali Al-Ashwal: “Why should I resign?” [Archives:1998/38/Sports]

September 21 1998

The Yemeni juniors’ football team finished the Asia Cup Championship with disappointing or, rather, shameful results. Many people thought that Ali Al-Ashwal, head of the Yemeni Football Association, should resign. To answer many questions arising in the minds of Yemeni football fans, he decided to hold a press conference. Presented here are some of the questions he was asked during the conference:
Q: After the bad results that our team finished with at the Asia Juniors Football Championship are you going to resign?
A: I won’t. I will stay in my position. Why should I resign since I am not the reason behind these results. Believe me, if my plans and program were supported financially from the beginning, our team would be in a much better situation.
Q: The football team was given much more facilities than other sport teams in the country, and you still complain at lack of support. How do you explain that?
A: Don’t talk about facilities. In fact, we don’t have any facilities worth mentioning. Let’s take, for example, Mohammed Al-Da’aei, the Saudi Arabia goalkeeper. He is paid the equivalent of YR 19 million a year. In comparison to that, the whole Yemeni Football Association is given YR 15 million a year as support. What do you think of that?!
On the other hand, I admit that the technical staff has committed many mistakes. The players themselves did not take the new game rules seriously and, as a result, they lost.
Q: How do view the future of football in Yemen? Will the failure of our junior team teach any lessons?
A: We will be given big support by the International Football Association, so we’ll try to prepare our team better in the future. If we are not well supported, we won’t be able to do that. You know that the government support and the matches revenue do not cover even half of our needs.
Lately, we did not participate in the Asia Tournament because we could not afford it, and the team was not in good shape to participate.
These were some of the questions Mr. Al-Ashwal answered. We, at the Yemen Times, do not take his answers to be enough to explain what happened. We believe that good participation is in itself a must. It is true that we don’t have an international reputation as a good team, but we have to do something in order to, at least, achieve acceptable results. Otherwise, we will continuously be on the retreat.