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Hussein Al-Shareef, Deputy Minister of Sports and Youth:

“If we fail in one match, are we are supposed to resign? In this case, there will be a new federation every week. This is unacceptable.”

  Interviewed By: Abdul Baset Al-Qaedi (FOR THE YEMEN POST)
  Article Date:
January 26
, 2009



Abdul Basit Al-Qaedi: The Chairman of the Yemeni Football Federation declared that is was your fault for the poor performance and losses of Yemen during Gulf 19 Championship staged in Oman. Will this declaration be followed by your resignations?

Hussein Al-Shareef: We are responsible for the losses; but this does not mean that anyone who declares responsibly for a certain mistake must resign. If so, then several governments will be formed every month and new federations will be formed after each match. We declare reasonability for what happened in Gulf 19 and we are searching for the reasons behind these losses. We will look for a good coach to serve our team's interest. However, the technical staff is responsible for the heavy loss against Saudi Arabia.

AQ: Whom do you mean by the technical staff?

HS: I mean the coach and his aides.

AQ: The current coach promised to make surprises, but his surprise was only six goals throughout the entire Championship?

HS: For a certain period of time, the coach was sick and we tried to look for a famous coach and we did not find. Muhsen Saleh was the best option. So we contacted him, thinking that he could make fine achievements as he did in Gulf 18. The performance was very poor.

AQ: Did you expect that loss?

HS: We did not expect that heavy loss and it was prompted by the absence of the principle goalkeeper and some backline and midfield players. 

AQ: Firing Muhsen Saleh was an unnecessary reaction?

HS: We met in Muscat with the specialists including the Deputy Minister for Sport Affairs, the General Manager of Sporty Activities and the Federation's Technical Advisor and some members of the board of directors. All of them saw that the coach was responsible for the heavy loss and must be fired.

AQ: Wins are always attributed to President Saleh, while any loss is blamed on you. Why do not you attribute to Saleh?

HS: The win is dedicated to the President, may Allah save him. But the direct administrative official should bear any loss. The president has provided a lot of support for sports and youth. We are responsible for any failure.

AQ: You simply speak of lost opportunities, but we want a position that comes to the level of the event …?

HS: Do you want us to resign?

AQ: It is up to you?

HS: If we fail in one match, are we are supposed to resign? In this case, there will be a new federation every week. This is unacceptable.

AQ: Tell us about your achievements?

HS: You can ask the athletes. Ask the Youth Team that qualified in Uzbekistan. Ask about Juniors Team that played in Qatar. Ask also about our national team during Gulf 18 Championship. Why do we just remember the losses and never speak about positive achievements?

AQ: Where are the eyes of the federation members directed in search for a new coach?

HS: We have contacted German and Dutch coaches. We may proceed with one of them very soon.

AQ: Youth and Sports Minister has resigned. Who runs the ministry?

HS: The first deputy minister and other specialized deputy ministers.

AQ: Some people speak about conflicts within the ministry. Do they affect Yemeni sport?

HS: No. There is harmony within the ministry and there are good relations between the different ministry affiliates. You will see a qualitative improvement soon.     

AQ: Is Yemen still keen about hosting Gulf 20 Championship?

HS: We will host Gulf 20 competitions and there are directives by the political leaderships to provide required funds for the Supreme Commission of Gulf 20 so that everything can be ready in time.

AQ: The hosting country often wins; are you prepared for that?

HS: This is not right. Oman and Emirates might have been lucky. The hosting countries do not win the cup; however, the land and fans could be encouraging for the team. Though it hosted several rounds, Bahrain has not managed to win the cup and this applies to other countries like the Emirates who has just won once in 34 years.

AQ: Is there still a dispute over the city meant for staging Gulf 20?

HS: In the beginning, the championship was set in Sana'a; however, it was later changed to Aden under investment and sporty circumstances. Gulf 20 will be an opportunity for receiving all Gulf people and not just the athletes. In Aden, there is a better sport infrastructure and May 22 Stadium is in need for some rehabilitation works.

AQ: What about the new stadium in Abyan?

HS: Works has started in Abyan's stadium since one month.

AQ: Do you think that time is sufficient for preparing and constructing the stadium?

HS: Certainly. It will be ready three months ahead of the championship.

AQ: Why does Yemen's football team fail? Is it our destiny to live with failure?

HS: Is it always failure? Is it your vision or political view?

AQ: I am asking you as a journalist?

HS: This is a political contentment. There is no sport failure and we have gathered several gold, silver and bronze medals. Juniors team was about to win Asian Cup and was qualified to play the world tournament. Why do not we consider these successes?!

AQ: 26 September Newspaper mentioned in its recent issue that over 150 administrators accompanied our team during Gulf 19 in Oman. Is it an administrative excursion?

HS: This is not correct. The people who traveled there are sport officials and the allowed number was 150, while some Gulf countries were represented with more than 300. Some were sent to benefit from the Omani expertise.

AQ: How do you interpret the criticism in the official 26 September?

HS: Journalistic opinions. Each journalist has the right to voice his opinion; however, this criticism should be constructive.

AQ: For the first time a southern person presides the federation. Was this positional selection was made intentionally?

HS: I am against speaking in positional terms, south and north. It is one country and all of us work for its service. It seems that you have exploited the interview to pass on your political agenda.