Italian coach Stefano Cusin is delighted seeing the Saudi Pro League explode as it has this year.
Just days after their stunning World Cup qualifying win against Ghana, Cusin spoke with David Pavek, of Tribalfootball.com partners Flashscore.com, and touched on the influence of former Wolves manager Zenga on his career. It was a friendship that was sparked in a friendly between Bulgaria's Botev Plovdiv and Zenga's Catania over 15 years ago. The Italian goalkeeping great eager to learn how one of his countrymen had found himself coaching in Bulgaria.
Cusin recalled: "After the game, we had a long discussion. When I moved to Al Ittihad in Libya and won the league, he was the first one to call me and congratulate me.
"So when the chance came for him to manage Al-Nassr in Saudi, he called me and said he needs me there as a coach who had experience with Arab players.
“It was a great experience. Thank God I met him, because I really learned a lot."
While now in charge of the Comoros, where he has been since October, Cusin has enthusiastically watched from afar as the Saudi Pro League - and Al-Nassr - continue to make strides. The Italian insisting the SPL's success is no surprise, given the potential he witnessed while working with Zenga.
“I'm not surprised that Saudi is now a big league. The best in Asia. Even back then when I was there, their stadiums were full and they were spending a lot of money. Of course not as much as now," Cusin recalls.
“There is a lot of passion. It's a big country, with big stadiums and lots of fans, and I think it's the country in the Middle East that has the most potential. Even the level of local players is good. I think they can only grow."
- image from Profimedia