Al Taawoun seek to confirm reputation as a rising force in Roshn Saudi League and Asian football
For the second time in three seasons, Al Taawoun are looking to finish in the top four of Roshn Saudi League and confirm their reputation as one of the rising powers in Asian football.
As the current campaign approaches the halfway stage, the team from Buraidah are in fifth, six points above Al Fateh in sixth and just four points behind recent opponents Al Shabab in third.
Then, the two teams played out a 1-1 draw. It was a game that could have gone either way and was another example of Al Taawoun more than holding their own against one of the big boys.
No other team in the league have defeated the top two, Al Hilal and Al Nassr, this season – no other teams have defeated them, at all. Al Taawoun’s come-from-behind 2-1 win at the home of Al Hilal, defending champions of Saudi Arabia and Asia, in October was a stunning result.
It followed a 1-0 victory over Al Nassr in September with another goal from winger Sumayhan Al Nabit, who recently impressed at the Arabian Gulf Cup.
Al Taawoun boss Pericles Chamusca knows a thing or two about this league as a former coach of Al Hilal, Al Faisaly and, until last March, Al Shabab. The experienced Brazilian started his current job in June and will be delighted with how the season has gone so far.
Last season, Leandre Tawamba scored 18 of the total of 43 goals. Now, it does not matter too much if opponents stop the Cameroonian striker because others have taken up the slack.
This season he has found the target three times, but has shown that there is more to his game than goals with a smart assist for Alvaro Medran to score against Al Shabab a fantastic example.
It was the fourth of the season for the Spanish midfielder who is really finding his feet after arriving at the club in December 2021 and he has been rewarded with an extension to his contract.
Tawamba told SSC Sports: “I am sure that I will return to my goal-scoring form of last season, but the team are the most important thing. We are strong, cohesive and will work together to achieve our goals.”
The last time Al Taawoun finished fourth in 2020/21, the following season saw a struggle against relegation. Playing in the AFC Champions League had an effect, the team took second in their group but just missed out on a place in the knockout stage.
The squad is deeper now which means that any potential continental campaign next time around should be a little easier.
What is always difficult is making the jump to becoming one of the big boys, especially as Al Nabit has agreed a deal to join Al Ahli.
There is a sense however that this will not disrupt Al Taawoun too much as the team and their fans continue to look up, rather than down.