The Saudi Arabian Pro League has witnessed the arrival of numerous stars this summer, and while some endorse the league’s quality, it does pose unique challenges for both players and staff as told by Sergio Gomes.
At a recent ‘Thinking Football’ conference, Portuguese doctor Sergio Gomes, who now works for Al Ittihad, discussed some of the specific issues related to Saudi Arabia.
One notable challenge is the combination of high heat and humidity, which makes high-intensity exercise difficult and ultimately slows down the league’s pace.
Additionally, the month of Ramadan, during which Muslims fast from sunrise to sundown, can also present difficulties for elite athletes.
Interestingly, Al Ittihad‘s star signing, Karim Benzema, has consistently performed exceptionally well during the month of Ramadan. However, Sergio Gomes, as reported by Sport, emphasized that the league’s most significant sports science challenge was related to sugar.
“We don’t have a problem with alcohol, but we do have a problem with sugar. It is a tradition in Saudi Arabia for each person to eat a dessert that an entire team could eat,” he noted.
In reference to the heat, Sergio Gomes noted that it would necessitate the development of strategies related to training and nutrition, making it a considerable challenge.
The event was arranged by the Portuguese league, and notable figures such as Roberto Carlos, Javier Tebas, Carlos Carvalhal, and Sevilla Vice-President Jose Maria del Nido Carrasco were all in attendance this week.