Saudi Arabia name their Asian Cup squad

Recently-crowned Asian Footballer of the Year Nasser Al Shamrani headlines Saudi Arabia’s squad for the Asian Cup in Australia next month.

The striker is one of nine players with 20 or more caps for Saudi Arabia, who was named in Cosmin Olaroiu’s squad on Thursday, ahead of the Middle Eastern team’s arrival in Australia on Friday.

Captain Saudi Kariri (125 caps) is the most experienced player in the squad, while Osama Hawsawi (97) and Taiseer Al Jassam (90) are also stalwarts of Saudi football.

Al Shamrani, who has 13 goals in 63 appearances for his country, was given the Asian Football Confederation’s (AFC) highest honour last month based on his performances in the AFC Champions League (ACL) with Al Hilal.

The Riyadh-based club reached the final of the ACL only to lose 1-0 on aggregate to Australia’s Western Sydney Wanderers, with Al Shamrani scoring 10 goals in 13 matches.

In a spiteful second leg in Riyadh, Al Hilal were denied a couple of clear penalty shouts and after the match, Al Shamrani could not control his frustration, spitting at Wanderers defender Matthew Spiranovic and attempting to fight the Australia international.

Al Shamrani and Spiranovic could meet again if Australia tops Group A and the Saudis finish second in Group B – or vice versa – or in the final, with both players set to play key roles for their respective sides.

Olaroiu selected Al Shamrani and seven other members of the Al Hilal squad, who are currently fourth in the Saudi Arabian Pro League, while there are five from leaders Al Nassr.

Squad in full:

Goalkeepers: Abdullah Al Sudairy (Al Hilal), Abdullah Al Enezi (Al Nassr), Waleed Abdullah (Al Shabab)

Defenders: Abdullah Al Dossari (Al Hilal), Hassan Fallatah (Al Shabab), Motaz Hawsawi (Al Ahli), Majed Al Marshadi (Al Shabab), Omar Hawsawi (Al Nassr), Osama Hawsawi (Al Ahli), Saeed Al Mowalad (Al Ahli), Yasir Al Shahrani (Al Hilal)

Midfielders: Awad Khamees (Al Nassr), Ibrahim Ghaleb (Al Nassr), Mustafa Al Bassas (Al Ahli),  Nawaf Al Abed (Al Hilal), Salman Al Faraj (Al Hilal), Salem Al Dawsari (Al Hilal), Saud Kariri (Al Hilal), Taiseer Al Jassam (Al Ahli), Waleed Bakshween (Al Ahli), Yahya Al Shehri (Al Nassr)

Forwards: Fahad Al Muwallad (Al Ittihad), Abdulrahman Al Ghamdi (Al Ittihad), Mohamed Al Sahlawi (Al Nassr), Naif Hazazi (Al Shabab), Nassir Al Shamrani (Al Hilal)