Saudi Arabia’s preparations for the upcoming 2010 World Cup play-off against Bahrain have been dealt a blow with the news that Naif Hazazi has picked up a serious injury.
The 20 year-old striker, a star of the qualification
campaign and one of Asia’ s most highly-rated forwards, has, according to reports in
Riyadh, torn the cruciate ligament in his right knee.
Hazazi went down under a challenge on Sunday in a
friendly game against Malaysia in Riyadh.
As well as the September 5 and 9 matches against Bahrain,
the Al-Ittihad attacker looks likely to miss the entire Saudi league season,
one which is barely two weeks old.
He will also miss the final play-off against New Zealand
in October and November should Saudi Arabia defeat Bahrain.
Hazazi’s nine goals last season helped Al Ittihad to the
league title and just last week he scored a hat-trick against Al Qadiysia.