Abbas Saad

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Abbas Saad
Personal information
Full name Abbas Saad
Date of birth (1967-12-01) 1 December 1967 (age 46)
Place of birth Baalbek, Lebanon
Height 1.78 m
Playing position Attacking midfielder
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1985 Sydney City 14 (2)
1986-1990 Sydney Olympic 105 (36)
1990 Singapore 22 (11)
1991-1992 Johor 40 (16)
1993 Sydney Olympic 12 (1)
1993-1994 Singapore 26 (12)
1996-1997 Sydney Olympic 12 (1)
1997-1999 Sydney United 27 (9)
1999-2000 Northern Spirit 13 (3)
2000 Canterbury-Marrickville 11 (6)
2001 Fraser Park 10 (2)
2002 Auburn United 10 (5)
2002-2003 St George Saints 11 (4)
2003 Belmore Hercules 9 (4)
2004 Al-Sadd 10 (3)
National team
1992-1998 Australia Australia 4 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Abbas Saad (Arabic: عباس سعد) (born 1 December 1967 in Lebanon) is an Australian former international soccer player.

International career[edit]

Born in Lebanon, Saad's family moved to Australia when he was a child. An attacking midfielder with a good eye for goal, he represented the Australian national team in a match against Russian club Torpedo Moscow and earned his first full cap against Malaysia two years later. After a six-year gap, he was recalled by then Socceroos coach Terry Venables for three games in 1998.[1] In all, he played six times for his country, earning four full caps.

Club career[edit]

Saad began his playing career in 1985 at Sydney City, before moving to Sydney Olympic. In 1990, he was awarded the Joe Marston Medal for the being the Player of the Match in the A-League Grand Final in which Sydney Olympic beat the Marconi Stallions 2-0.

He then played in the Malaysian League for Johor and Singapore in the early 1990s. He was a key member of teams which won the League and Malaysia Cup double with both Johor in 1991 and Singapore in 1994.

In the 1994 Malaysia Cup final, Saad scored a hat-trick in Singapore's 4-0 victory over Pahang.

Conviction for match-fixing in Singapore[edit]

Shortly after the 1994 triumph, Saad was charged with match-fixing in Singapore. He has always mainatined his innocence of this charge. During his trial, he admitted that he had been approached by his team-mate Michal Vana (a Czech player who was also charged with match-fixing but who jumped bail and left Singapore before he could be tried), who asked Saad to help him win certain matches by large margins during the 1994 season as Vana was betting on the outcome of the games. However Saad stated that he had refused to help Vana try to fix the scores of any games, and had merely told Vana that he would try to help the Singapore team win the games by as many goals as possible as this was his job. Saad had not reported Vana's requests or his knowledge that Vana was betting on games to team officials or the authorities, but stated during his trial that he had did tell Vana that he should stop betting on matches.[2]

In June 1995, the Singapore courts convicted Saad of match-fixing and fined him S$50,000. He then received a global playing ban from FIFA.[3]

Saad continues to maintain that he was innocent of match-fixing, and that he merely knew that Vana was betting on the outcomes of matches but was not involved himself. Speaking about the verdict in an interview in 2009, Saad said: "(Vana) approached me once and said 'you score goals?' and I said 'of course I score goals, I'm a striker'. And so that conversation was taken out of context. There was no money received or nothing like that. I don't know how they built a case, I think it was a technical thing. I'm not a lawyer."[1]

Resumption to playing career[edit]

After his ban ended, Saad played for several teams in the National Soccer League in Australia – Sydney Olympic in 1996–97, Sydney United from 1997–99, and for Northern Spirit FC in the 1999–00 season.

Coaching career[edit]

Saad was coach at New South Wales Premier League side Penrith Nepean United, and in 2009 was named as Technical Youth Director by Sydney Olympic FC. He has also been the Head Coach for the Australian Deaf Football team.[4] Saad has also served as the Head Coach of the GIS Academy at the Garden International School in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.[5]

Following his conviction for match-fixing in Singapore, he received a lifetime ban from the Football Association of Singapore, but this was lifted in 2009 and he is now able to be involved in footballing activities in Singapore again.[6][7]

Broadcasting career[edit]

Saad's football ban in Singapore was only lifted in March 2009 after almost 14 years. In August 2009, he began appearing as a football expert in the studios of ESPN STAR Sports and for the SingTel coverage of the UEFA Champions League in Singapore, where his popularity once saw him dubbed as "The Singapore Beckham". He is also a regular studio guest for the English Premier League coverage and the FourFourTwo TV Show with the SuperSport channel on Malaysian network, Astro.[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Abbas: Finally My Hell Is Over, Australian FourFourTwo, 16 March 2009
  2. ^ Abbas: Vana offered to pay for goals, New Straits Times, 2 June 1995
  3. ^ "FAS lifts ban imposed on Aussie footballer Abbas Saad in 1995". Channel NewsAsia. 12 March 2009. Retrieved 4 March 2010. 
  4. ^ DFA Executive Board & Committee
  5. ^ Abbas Saad: Always on the ball, New Straits Times, 24 July 2011
  6. ^ Return of the 'Singapore Beckham', ESPN Soccernet, 28 May 2009
  7. ^ Party boy now a new man, The Straits Times, 16 March 2009
  8. ^ I was convicted of match-fixing: Abbas Saad, New Straits Times, 7 March 2011

External links[edit]