FIFA acknowledges Saudi striker's 147 International caps
It's official Saudi Arabia's Majed Abdullah is the most capped player
in the history of international football.
Majed won 147 senior caps during his career putting him 22 ahead of
the former England goalkeeper Peter Shilton.
Peter Shilton has been heading the list of players with the most
international appearances for years. But it has been rumoured for a long
time that the total number of caps collected by the Saudi Arabian
striker Majed Abdullah could have broken Shilton's record by more than a
It has been now proved beyond doubt that Majed Abdullah have broken
Shilton's record by more than a few.
According details received from FIFA News Majeed Abdullah really has
played in 147 'A' internationals-22 more than Shilton.
Majed Abdullah (also known as Majeed Ahmed Mohammed) first sported
the Kingdom's colours in friendly versus the Republic of Korea in 1978.
His last official splash was engraved on many a football fan's memory
- when Saudi Arabia sprang a surprise win against Belgium in the last
group on June 29, 1994 in Washington, he had been in action for one half
of the match.
Nicknamed 'The Desert Pele' for his speed, supremacy in the air and
determination Majed Abdullah has been Asia's Footballer of the Year
three times, time and again a league champion and cup winner with his
club Al Nasr and the league's top goal scorer not to mention his 'Golden
Shoe' award twice over as the best goal scorer of the entire Arab world.
Before Saudi Arabia qualified for the 1994 World Cup Majed Abdullah
played a large part in their capture of the Asian Cup in 1984 and 1988
and in qualifying for the 1984 Olympic Games.
He would have notched up far more than 150 international if he had
not missed the Asian qualifiers in Doha, Qatar in October 1993 (apart
from the goalless start against Japan) and several practice matches
played by his team in the run-up to the 1994 World Cup.
FIFA has scrutinised the list sent in by the Saudi Association. The
main obstacle was the player's variety of names that demanded meticulous
comparison of information on international matches in the data bank
which yielded supposedly different players.
The investigation in fact revealed that it concerns one and the same
player. A number of games had to be disregarded because Olympic
preliminaries for instance do not count as 'A' internationals.
But any previous doubts that existed about the other appearances have
now been completely dispelled. The Saudi Association has corroborated
its claims by sending FIFA a letter of confirmation.
The Indian Premier League (IPL) threatens to play a major role in the
Test campaign between England and the West Indies even before a ball is
bowled in Wednesday's series opener here at Lord's.
England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff has already been ruled out of the
two-Test series after sustaining a knee injury playing in the lucrative
And West Indies captain Chris Gayle only arrived in England following
his IPL stint in South Africa in the early hours of Monday morning.
On his day, opening batsman Gayle can blast a big score against any
But West Indies coach John Dyson is unhappy the left-hander, who in
March led his side to a 1-0 Test series win over England in the
Caribbean, has given himself so little time to acclimatise to local
However, not all players need plenty of nets and lots of rest to be
at their best and Dyson is banking on Gayle's "big-match" temperament
asserting itself in the first of a two-Test series.
But the former Australia opening batsman was clearly unhappy Gayle
had been allowed to leave it so late before joining the team.
"Chris is a big-match player - he handles pressure, all sorts of it,
very well. He's played magnificent cricket in all forms of the game over
the last 12 months," Dyson told reporters at Lord's on Monday.
"He says he's in good touch, seeing the ball well.
"The board gave him clearance until May 2 - but then our board
considered an extra day or two didn't matter, so that's that.
"Medical science says that everyone gets jet-lag. If your flying time
is 10, 12 hours you probably need a couple of days to recover properly
from the flight.
"Then you need a couple of nets and probably a practice game. That
would be the minimum I would see as being ideal."
Sri Lanka were due to be England's opponents for this series, only to
withdraw because of their players' IPL commitments.
As it is West Indies fast bowler Fidel Edwards only arrived following
his IPL stint on Sunday while the other England players involved in the
tournament apart from Flintoff - Ravi Bopara, Kevin Pietersen and Paul
Collingwood - have not long been in the country either.
"We all knew that the IPL was on and we knew that the players would
be arriving when they have - late," said Dyson.
This will be the earliest Test ever staged in an English season and
so far the West Indies have struggled to adjust to the local
Draws with Leicestershire and Essex were followed by a 10-wicket
thrashing at the hands of the England Lions.
There is no doubt the tourists will be looking to the likes of Gayle
and the obdurate Shivnarine Chanderpaul, long a thorn in England's side,
to stiffen their batting.
One factor in their favour could be the Lord's pitch.
The last six Tests there have been draws but England have struggled
to bowl sides out twice anywhere in recent times - they failed to take
20 wickets in any of their 'winter' Tests in India and the Caribbean.
That has led to England freshening up their attack by calling in the
likes of uncapped pace duo Graham Onions and Tim Bresnan in a 12-man
squad, the first since Andy Flower was confirmed as their new head
Both seamers are set to play at Lord's with Graeme Swann and Monty
Panesar contesting what is likely to be the lone spot for a spinner.
Onions has effectively replaced fellow Durham quick Stephen Harmison
in the squad, England appearing to have lost patience with the talented
paceman whose temperament has never quite seemed the equal of his
physical gifts. LONDON, AFP