Saudi Arabia coach Herve Renard has announced a preliminary 32-man squad for the World Cup starting next month, debuting several players who aren’t starters for their clubs.
Mohamed Al-Owais, Fawaz Al-Qarni, and Nawaf Al-Aqidi will all come off the bench to join the Saudi national team ahead of the FIFA tournament.
The strange decision also calls Mohamed Al-Yami on the team’s roster, a goalkeeper for the second-tier Al-Ahly club.
Adding to the unusual roster, Riyadh Sharahili will also join despite playing in his international debut in September this year.
Central midfielder Mohamed Kanno and his teammate Abdulelah Al-Malki were also revealed to be a part of the World Cup squad even though they have not played a game this season.
Renard’s roster is undoubtedly uncommon, yet the French coach could be testing out some strategies during the team’s five warm-up games.
Held in Abu Dhabi, the Saudis will face Honduras, Iceland, Panama, North Macedonia, and Albania right before their appearance on Qatar’s multinational pitches.
The United States and Ecuador surrendered to the tough defence of the Saudis, who drew goalless with both teams.
In November, Saudi Arabia will face World Cup favorites Argentina, Poland, and Mexico in Group C of the tournament.
The Saudi Arabia and Argentina match was the second game to be sold entirely following the Argentina and Mexico game.