The Qatar Stars League Management has cancelled the 2018-19 Qatar Cup competition following continental campaigns involving three Qatari club sides.
The Qatar Cup, formally known as the Heir Apparent Cup is the traditional end of season tournament involving the top four sides in the QSL. The current league season will conclude on April 12 and the competition could have been held a week thereafter. The league management, in co-ordination with all stakeholders, has rated the 2018-19 season exceptional.
After winning the historic Asian Cup 2019 title, Qatar will be participating in South America’s Copa America Tournament from June 14 to July 7. As part of preparation for the tournament, the Qatar Football Association shelved the FIFA international break for friendly in March so the players can rest and regroup for friendly matches in May and June.
Additionally, the QSL management cited the Tokyo 2020 Games qualifiers as another reason for the cancellation of the four-team competition.
Qatar’s U-23 players will be in action against Oman, Nepal and Afghanistan from this weekend at the Aspire Zone in the West Asia zone. Qatar open Group A matches against Afghanistan on Friday, take on Nepal on Sunday and conclude with a game against Oman next week (Tuesday).
The appearance of three Qatari clubs - Al Duhail, Al Sadd and Al Rayyan - in the group stage of 2019 AFC Champions League is another reason for the decision to do away with the competition this season. With two Champions League matches in April, the clubs will have time to prepare for Match Day 3 & 4, respectively.
“After taking into consideration all of the above factors and the need to give adequate rest to the players ahead of the upcoming challenges, both at the national team and clubs’ levels, the QSL has decided not to organise the Qatar Cup only for the 2018-19 season,” the QSL released a statement on Tuesday.
By Ikoli Viktor
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