The Y.O. Football Team Defeats K.Y. Team 2-1 [Archives:1999/19/Sports]
In a friendly match during its ongoing training camp in Kuwait, Yemen’s Olympic team defeated the Kuwaiti Youth team 2-to-1. This match, played on Thursday, May 6th, was the third game for the Yemeni team so far in their preparation for the qualifying tournament for the Sidney 2000 Olympic Games.
The first half of the match ended with no score. All three goals came during the second half. Ashraf Ba-Madhey scored the first goal in the 57th minute. Just three minutes later, Aziz Zuraiki added a second goal for the Yemeni team. Unfortunately, the Yemeni team, the players relaxed and became careless near the end, allowing the Kuwaiti footballer Saood Al-Ghanem the chance to score the only goal for the Kuwaiti Youth team in the 89th minute of the match.
The Yemeni team played a very strong match, and the appeared to be in very good shape. Their performance was much improved from their last match, and the training appears to be paying off. The course of the match was almost completely dominated by the Yemeni team, who had several opportunities to score, and frequently got the ball close to the Kuwaiti goalkeeper. Eyhab Al-Nuzili, who played as a left winger in this match, made most of the serious attacks, and fired on the opponent’s goal more than once.
More than anything else, this match showed that Mr. Fernandez, the Brazilian coach, has become better acquainted with his players skills and talents. Nasser Ghazi, who played in the second half, was a major problem for the Kuwaitis. His swift and accurate passes to Eyhab Nuzili repeatedly frustrated the Kuwaiti goalkeeper. However, Ashraf Ba-Madhi who also played in the second half started the scoring. In the 57th minute, Ghazi made a wonderful pass to Ba-Madhi, who received the ball and promptly sent it flying into the Kuwaiti goal. After the goal, the Yemeni team controlled the match and with the swift and intelligent passes it appeared that the game was one-sided. However, the Yemeni team still missed a number of opportunities to score.
On the other hand, the K.Youth team was somewhat dazzled by the Yemenis’ impressive performance, though they were able to take advantage of a moment of weakness in the Yemeni defense and scored their only goal just one minute before the end.
This match indicated that Fernandez, the coach, is almost ready to determine the final and distinct line-up of the Y.O. team. The players, now 27, will be reduced to 20 as the final form of the team who will take part in Sydney’s qualifying finals. Names of the 20 players are expected to be announced today, Monday, May 10th.
Many sports analysts have noted a rapid improvement in the Yemeni team’s performance following the three training matches in Kuwait. The new coaching, as well as the better facilities the team was able to use appear to be the main reasons for this remarkable improvement.
Let us hope that this rising morale and level of play will be kept up for the coming matches against Qatar and the UAE, which count towards qualifying for the Sydney 2000 Olympics.