Qatar to Clash with Yemen in Gulf Cup Opener

Qatar to Clash with Yemen in Gulf Cup Opener
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Published December 20th, 2017 - 14:50 GMT via SyndiGate.info

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The 23rd Arab Gulf Cup logo
The 23rd Arab Gulf Cup logo

Defending champions Qatar will start the defence of the Arab Gulf Cup against Yemen on December 23 at the Kuwait Sports Club Stadium.

On the opening day, the Group A teams will clash to launch the event in Kuwait on December 22. Hosts Kuwait are pitted against Oman, while Saudi Arabia clash with the United Arab Emirates.

Qatar's second match is against Iraq on December 26 and they will wrap up the group league with a game against Bahrain.

Eight teams have been divided into two groups. Group A features Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Oman and the United Arab Emirates, while Group B has Qatar, Yemen, Iraq and Bahrain.

Qatar coach Felix Sanchez recently named 20 players who will form the national squad in the 23rd edition.

The squad is a mix of youth and experience with Al Sadd contributing five players and Al Duhail four. The younger players will use the Gulf Cup experience to earn selection in the Qatar team for the AFC U-23 Championship, to be held in China.

Qatar Football Association President Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa bin Ahmed al Thani, who is also the head of the Arab Gulf Cup Football Federation (AGCFF), said while transferring the hosting rights to Kuwait that the Gulf Cup should not be hostage to politics as it is a celebration of football for fans in the region.

In November, Qatar produced a fine performance against the Czech Republic before going down 1-2 and drew 1-1 with Iceland who have qualified for next year's World Cup in Russia.

Kuwait have won the event for a whopping 10 times ever since its inception in 1970 and this will be fourth time they will play hosts after having organised it earlier in 1974, 1990 and 2003.

The Qatar squad consists of 20 players and three more players from the Olympic team will join on Thursday to complete the squad for the championship.

The current squad: Saad al Dosari, Hassan Haydos, Pedro Gomez, Musab al-Khader and Salem al Hajri (all from Al Sadd), Almoez Ali, Bassam al Rawi, Karim Boudiaf, Ismail Mohamed (all from Al Duhail), Mohamed Muntari (Al Ahli), Hamad al Obaidi, Abdul Karim Salem al Ali (both from Al Saliyah); Ahmed Fathi (Al Arabi), Alimhdi Ali, Othman al Yahri (both from Al Gharafa); Asim Madibo, Akram Hassan Afif and Abdul Karim Hassan (all from KAS Eupen, Belgium); Ahmed Yasser Mohamadi and Ahmed Moin (both from Cultural y Deportiva Leonesa, Spain.

Groupings

Group A
Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Oman and United Arab Emirates

Group B
Qatar, Iraq, Yemen and Bahrain

Schedule (Group Stage)

December 22
Kuwait vs Oman
Saudi Arabia vs United Arab Emirates

December 23
Qatar vs Bahrain
Yemen vs Iraq

December 25
United Arab Emirates vs Oman
Saudi Arabia vs Kuwait

December 26
Yemen vs Iraq
Bahrain vs Qatar

December 28
Saudi Arabia vs Iraq
Bahrain vs Yemen

December 29
Qatar vs Iraq
Bahrain vs Yemen

January 2, 2018 Semi-finals
Winner Group A vs Runner-up Group B
Winner Group B vs Runner-up Group A

January 5 Final
Winner SF1 vs Winner SF2

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