The diary of a Saudi man, currently living in the United Kingdom, where the Religious Police no longer trouble him for the moment.

In Memory of the lives of 15 Makkah Schoolgirls, lost when their school burnt down on Monday, 11th March, 2002. The Religious Police would not allow them to leave the building, nor allow the Firemen to enter.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

New Saudi Ambassador to Britain 

Great Britain now has a new Saudi Ambassador. He is Prince Mohammed Bin Nawaf Bin Abdul Aziz.

"Bin Abdul Aziz". Doesn't that mean "son of Abdul Aziz", the original King and founder of Saudi Arabia? Yes it does. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, it is remarkable how many of these princes are selected for the top jobs. Yesterday we had Prince Salman, having a great time in that boat, he's the Governor of Riyadh. Now we've got Prince Nawaf, he's held a lot of high positions. It must be those Abdul Aziz genes that makes them so hugely talented, they certainly provide very stiff competition for the rest of us who might fancy a go at those employment opportunities.

Prince Nawaf has a few interesting quotes to his name. In 2002, when he was Director of Saudi Intelligence, he said that the late Chairman Arafat was

a man of peace

which made a number of people wonder whether his job title was some sort of ironic joke.

One quote that he did not utter, as Director of Saudi Intelligence, was....

Naif, why do you keep locking up European expatriates every time one of these bombs goes off in Riyadh? What is all this nonsense about a turf war over booze? I realize that you are the least gifted even by the abysmal standards of this family, but anyone with half a brain cell can see that it's Al Qaeeda behind it.

....and, had he done so, we might have averted The sorrowful saga of the so-called "Booze Bombers"

Lately, however, he has been applying his rich talents to overseeing the Saudi national soccer team. As head of the Saudi Football Federation, Nawaf has been breathing down the neck of Argentinian team coach Gabriel Calderon. Although Saudi Arabia has got thru to the World Cup finals via a relatively easy set of draws, it only finished fourth in the recent West Asian games. So poor Gabriel is now faced with every coach's nightmare, gratuitous advice from a boss whose only encounter with a football was once being asked to do a ceremonial kick-off and miraculously "nutmegging"* himself.

We have asked Calderon to explain and allay our concerns

This was regarding the changes in technical and administrative staff which have been carried out four times so far and the constant changes he makes in his plans

We also wanted to know the wisdom behind holding a training camp for two weeks before the finals without playing a single friendly match during the camp. We will soon know his answer

and ominously

We will assess him and his fitness to lead our team based on his preparation plans.

but thankfully

I would like to assure you that changing coaches is not a habit with the Saudi FF

When Prince Nawaf invites me to Tea and Crumpets at the Embassy, I will respectfully suggest that he should leave Gabriel Calderon to do what he does best, running a soccer team, and that the Prince himself should stick to what he does best, once we've figured out what that is.

(A "Nutmeg" is when you kick the ball thru the middle of the opposing player's legs. It takes a certain talent to do that to yourself. It takes a special kind of genius to do that to yourself, when you're wearing an ankle-length thobe)

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