…better and better!

    The largest freely accessible football database in the world has been enriched by an Asian competition. The golf trophy, which has existed since 1970, will be celebrating its 25th edition on January 6th this year, and the city of Basra will be hosting the traditional competition in Iraq for the first time since 1979. The tournament, set up at the request of the Saudi king’s son, is the record winner for Kuwait with ten titles, followed by Iraq, Qatar and Saudi Arabia – Kuwait has lifted the Gulf Cup just once since 1998.

    There is no clear favorite in this year’s edition, rather Saudi Arabia and Qatar as well as the United Arab Emirates, Oman, defending champion Bahrain and, under new coach Casas, also hosts Iraq. World Cup contenders Saudi Arabia and Qatar will feature some players from the second row. No big surprises are expected from the other two participants, Kuwait and Yemen. With record goalscorer Ali Mabkhout, the second most valuable player in the Emirates is missing from Rodolfo Arruabarrena’s squad.

    The group constellation with Saudi Arabia and Yemen, which have been in a bloody conflict since 2015, is noteworthy. On Sunday, Iraq’s Prime Minister confirmed the suspension of all visa fees to ease entry into the country. Customs duties were lifted, the airport renovated and Saudi Arabia opened border crossings to allow fans from Yemen to travel to Iraq free of charge.

    Two Iraqi superstars, Rahma Riad and Kadim Al-Sahir, will perform at the opening ceremony on Friday. The tournament will be opened by Iraq and Oman at 16:45.

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