Khaleej ClubCoach: Dimitrios Dimitroullias
Handball has been getting more and more attention in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia over the last years, as highlighted by the appointment of former French star Didier Dinart as the men’s national team coach, who served for four months in the post.
Therefore, it was just normal that club teams started to focus on development, with one of the only ways to progress being to usher in talent from abroad – to set an example and try to grow the level organically.
This is what Khaleej have been trying to do in the past few years, and their work paid dividends, finishing second in the Prince Faisal bin Fahad Saudi Handball League last season, due to a 24:26 loss against Mudhar in the decisive match, but also securing the Saudi Prince Sultan Handball Cup.
The Saudi club will be only the fourth team from the country to take part in an IHF Men’s Super Globe, after Mudhar finished in seventh place in two editions, Al Noor finished seventh in 2021 and Al Wehda secured the best placement for a Saudi team, fourth place, in 2019.
Khaleej have been also active this summer, as they appointed Greek coach Dimitris Dimitroulias to lead the squad, a coach with plenty of experience, as he led AEK Athens to the EHF European Cup Men in the 2020/21 season and also was on the bench when the Greek side played in the group phase of the EHF European League Men.
Dimitroulias supervised Khaleej’s win in the Saudi Super Cup this September, 33:31 against Mudhar, while also leading his side to four wins in the first four matches of the new season of the Prince Faisal bin Fahad Saudi Handball League.
Khaleej have five players from the Saudi Arabia men’s national team, who finished third at the 2022 AHF Asian Men’s Handball Championship last January, progressing for the fifth time in a row to the IHF Men’s World Championship, and they added goalkeeper Mohammed Al-Salem to the squad this summer.
They also boast an interesting Bahraini centre in Hussein Al Sayyad, who represented his national team at the 2021 IHF Men’s World Championship and at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, but also a globetrotter left back in Nemanja Mladenovic, who featured in the German Bundesliga, in Portugal, North Macedonia and Romania before joining Khaleej.
However, the Saudi side will miss Saudi national team player Abbas Al-Saffar, the left back who joined from Mudhar, due to an injury that will keep him away from the court for two months, which is a big blow to their challenge in the competition.
Key players: Hussein Al Sayyad (centre back), Nemanja Mladenovic (left back), Mohammed Al-Salem (goalkeeper)
Qualification for 2022 IHF Men’s Super Globe: Hosts
History in tournament: Debutants
Group at 2022 IHF Men’s Super Globe: Group A (SC Magdeburg, Sydney Uni, Khaleej)