After a horrific season that almost concluded in a historical and dramatic relegation, Ittihad Jeddah has finally done it.
A season that started with Ramon Diaz as a coach and a loss in the Saudi Supercup; continued with Slaven Bilić and the lowest ranking the club has ever faced in Saudi League; and finally, stabilized with the return of former Chilean coach José Luis Sierra.
Sierra has guided the team to a secure shore, 7 points away from the relegation zone, where the team was staying for a large part of the season. With 11 victories in the last 15 matches, including a hammering the Tigers from Jeddah has really turned their situation upside-down.
While at the local stage Itti was suffering, in the continental level, things are going right. They already secured their spot in the Asian Champion League knockouts, and if Romarinho, Carlos Villanueva & Alexander Prijović can continue their run, the rivals shouldn’t underestimate the Saudi black & yellows.
But with the joy of survival, one thing is still hovering the achievement. Star player Fahd Al-Muwallad, who scored 11 goals this season and was one of the major protagonists in the team’s comeback, is in trouble after it was announced that the league’s doping committee found a banned substance in his sample.
One Ittihad’ star already faced such a situation in the past - Mohammed Noor, who was banned for four years period due to doping charges and has retired from football.