Politics, football and tragedies. The amazing and ambivalent 2017 Gulf Cup in Kuwait.
One weekend, three games, Worldwide. All the information.
Another weekend is here, and you know exactly where you can find the most interesting matches. Yup, at BabaGol Weekend Recap! This week we will visit a match for the title in Kuwait, we will meet a few familiar faces in China, and an Afro-Brazilian football experience in Angola. Let´s dance!
(All the hours are in CET local time)
Friday, 1955, Al Kuwait – Al Arabi (Kuwaiti Premier League)
This is the ‘Money-Time’ of the season in Kuwait. The match between Al Kuwait and Al Arabi, two teams with a huge title aspiration, is going to be a decisive one as Al Arabi is leading the table, 5 points ahead of Al Kuwait. Al Kuwait has a glorious history include 11 national championships and ten national cups. Moreover, they won three AFC Cup titles, the second-tier continental competition in Asia. This year they participate once again in the AFC Cup, as they are close to qualify to the round of 16, for the 7th consecutive season.
Keep your eyes on the Brazilian Rogerinho, who play for the team since 2008 and won the AFC Foreign Player of the Year award in 2012, Waleed Ali, who played 103 matches for Kuwait national team, and Abdulhadi Khamis, the team's top scorer this season, with 7 goals.
Al Arabi wants to win their first title since 2002. They already won the Kuwaiti Cup this year, winning 4:2 against the same Al Kuwait. They hold on 16 national championships, and winning the title this season means that they will become the most crowned team in the country. Their key players are Firas Al-Khatib, Syrian player who scored 16 league goals in this season, Mahmoud Dashti, 22 years old local talent, Ahmed Hayel, which except from being one of the club’s greatest scorers, was part from a bizzare moment in the last Asian Cup.
You can feel the pressure and the stress in the late moments of the league, who could make the step for the championship?
Sunday, 1100, Shanghai SIPG – Beijing Guoan (Chinese Super League)
With the entrance of big money and big stars, it was clear that the Chinese scenario will make a significant development. Matchday 5 will be played this weekend, and we have a clash between Shanghai SIPG and league’ leaders, Beijing Guoan, who haven't lost yet.
Few years ago, Shanghai SIPG was known as Shanghai Dongya, an average second division team. In 2013, the team signed a sponsorship deal with Shanghai International Port Group for 40 million dollars, and immediately the team became one of the strongest teams in China. Last term they finished in the 5th place, missing the Champions League spot by goal difference, and now they aspire to win the title, being ranked 2nd, with 10 points. Shanghai appointed a world class manager, the Swedish Sven-Göran Eriksson. Among the big names in the squad you can find another Swedish, Tobias Hysén, who played 34 times for his national team, and the Argentine Darío Conca, who came back to China after one season in Fluminense, and Sun Xiang, who played in Netherland and Austria. Beijing Guoan has a quite of tradition in the Chinese top flight. Even though they won only one championship, usually they’re finishing in the league’s top places and playing consistently in the AFC Champions League. They are tight with Shanghai, leading the table with 10 points thanks to a better goal difference. Beijing Guoan also have a foreign manager, the veteran Spanish, Gregorio Manzano, who won the Coach of the Year award in China last year. Pay attention to Dejan Damjanović, who arrived to China after 6 tremendous seasons in South Korea, Yang Zhi, the China national team goalkeeper, and Shao Jiayi, who played in Germany for 9 years.
Chinese football is making a big progress every day. A high-tempo match from the Super League you’ll get a great example for it.
Sunday, 1600, Recreativo de Libolo – Petro de Luanda (Angola Girabola)
Imagine to yourself a mix between Portuguese and Brazilian football from the one hand, and the African football from the other hand. The combination of both will be our welcome greeting to the football in Angola, former Portuguese colony in Africa. On Sunday, Recreativo de Libolo and Petro de Luanda will face each other, for a match between two completely different sides of the local scene.
Recreativo de Libolo formed in 1942, dissolved, but re-established in 2006. The new era of the team, is led by the new president, Rui Campos, who took the club to some new peaks. They promoted for the first time to the Girabola, and in 2011 won their first championship, which was part of a dynasty of three titles in four seasons. Their manager, Sébastien Desabre, made a long tour in Africa, previously managed teams in Ivory Coast, Cameroon and Tunisia. The main players of the team are Rudy, who played in Belgium and Spain, Fredy, who played as a youngster in the national youth team of Portugal and now plays for the senior team of Angola, and Jusly Boukama-Kaya, who arrived to Angola after two championships in Cameroon.
Petro de Luanda is the biggest team in the history of the Angolan football. They won 15 championships, what makes them the club with the highest number of titles in the country. Their players are always main part in the national team. They’re still part of the league’s top flight, but since 2009 they failed to win another title. Their manager, Alexandre Grasseli, is a Brazilian that managed youth teams in Brasil and now makes his debut season as a senior team head coach. The stars of the team are Lamá, the team’s goalkeeper since 1999 who was also part of the national squad in 2006 World Cup, Mabululu, the team's top scorer, and Filhão, 19 years old hot prospect of the Angolan football who already played abroad in the South African league.
Africa, Brazil and Portugal all in one pitch, I think that it's the time for a special football experience, like we all love.