Saudi scare for Ibrahim



MUSCAT // Nasser al Johar did it again - he skipped another press conference. And what's more, there was no sign of Hassan al Rahib or Nayef Hazaazi either. Al Johar, Saudi Arabia's incorrigible coach who keeps giving the media the slip, had promised to unveil two "exciting, young strikers" ahead of their semi-final clash against Kuwait at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex. But that did not happen.

His Brazilian assistant Luis Innara, said: "We still have a training session before the Kuwait match. And with all the players in the squad available, the line-up won't be decided until then." True. And with the form the Saudis are in, it would be hard to imagine a winning combination without their captain Yasser al Qahtani and Malik Moad - so dangerous in attack and both with two goals each from the three games.

"We are heading for another strong match and we do not consider Kuwait any weaker than the rest of the teams in the competition," Innara said. "Everyone's started to pick Saudi Arabia as the favourites, but I believe in the old adage you don't count your chicken before they hatch." But the Saudis have been impressive so far - even in their goalless draw against Qatar - before they went on a rampage in the next two games, drubbing Yemen 6-0 and tearing the UAE apart 3-0. So it comes has no surprise when the Kuwait coach Mohammed Ibrahim says they were up against a better team.

"It would take a very good performance and plenty of good fortune to beat this Saudi side," Ibrahim said. "But I am hopeful of an upset. "We never expected to come this far and who knows. My players can raise the bar on the night and the Saudis can have a poor game." Ibrahim did not rule out the possibility of the game veering towards penalities. "That is one of our options but a hard one because they have scored with their forwards, midfielders and the defenders," he said.

But he has reasons to believe his team can win, however hard it may be. "We have played to our strengths and have been quite successful," Ibrahim said. "The UAE, Oman, Bahrain and Iraq are by no means weak and we have conceded just one goal in the last game with Iraq. It has been a pretty decent run." The former Kuwait international has no injury problems in his squad and hopes to have his best line-up for the game.

He also feels it is an achievement for two homegrown coaches to come this far with one sure to make it to the final. "With all due respect to the Saudis, I hope it's Kuwait," he said. @Email:apassela@thenational.ae

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2000: Amazon Marketplace opens, allowing people to sell items on the website

2002: Amazon forms what would become Amazon Web Services, opening the Amazon.com platform to all developers. The cloud unit would follow in 2006

2003: Amazon turns in an annual profit of $75 million, the first time it ended a year in the black

2005: Amazon Prime is introduced, its first-ever subscription service that offered US customers free two-day shipping for $79 a year

2006: Amazon Unbox is unveiled, the company's video service that would later morph into Amazon Instant Video and, ultimately, Amazon Video

2007: Amazon's first hardware product, the Kindle e-reader, is introduced; the Fire TV and Fire Phone would come in 2014. Grocery service Amazon Fresh is also started

2009: Amazon introduces Amazon Basics, its in-house label for a variety of products

2010: The foundations for Amazon Studios were laid. Its first original streaming content debuted in 2013

2011: The Amazon Appstore for Google's Android is launched. It is still unavailable on Apple's iOS

2014: The Amazon Echo is launched, a speaker that acts as a personal digital assistant powered by Alexa

2017: Amazon acquires Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, its biggest acquisition

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Once the domain of newspaper home deliveries, subscription model retailing has combined with e-commerce to permeate myriad products and services.

The concept has grown tremendously around the world and is forecast to thrive further, according to UnivDatos Market Insights’ report on recent and predicted trends in the sector.

The global subscription e-commerce market was valued at $13.2 billion (Dh48.5bn) in 2018. It is forecast to touch $478.2bn in 2025, and include the entertainment, fitness, food, cosmetics, baby care and fashion sectors.

The report says subscription-based services currently constitute “a small trend within e-commerce”. The US hosts almost 70 per cent of recurring plan firms, including leaders Dollar Shave Club, Hello Fresh and Netflix. Walmart and Sephora are among longer established retailers entering the space.

UnivDatos cites younger and affluent urbanites as prime subscription targets, with women currently the largest share of end-users.

That’s expected to remain unchanged until 2025, when women will represent a $246.6bn market share, owing to increasing numbers of start-ups targeting women.

Personal care and beauty occupy the largest chunk of the worldwide subscription e-commerce market, with changing lifestyles, work schedules, customisation and convenience among the chief future drivers.


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