Qatar to take on Yemen in Gulf Cup opener
The five-nation tournament to be held at the Khalifa Stadium from November 24 to December 6.
Asian champions Qatar will take on Yemen in the opening match of the 24th Arabian Gulf Cup, to be held in Doha from November 24 to December 6. Originally, the tournament was scheduled from November 27 to December 9.
Oman, Kuwait and Iraq are the other teams, with all matches scheduled at the Khalifa International Stadium. The five teams will play a round-robin league, with the top one emerging champions.
The event offers a prize money of $3m for the winners and $2m for the runners-up while all participating teams will be richer by $1m.
The draw for the five-team tournament was held on Wednesday during which the emblem and mascot were also unveiled. The emblem showcases the Qatari flag and a football, symbolising the country’s passion for the sport while the mascot is a playful oyster holding a pearl. Called Sodefi, the Arabic word for shell, it pays homage to the country’s seafaring and pearl diving past.
Jassim Al Rumaihi, General Secretary of the Arabian Gulf Cup Football Federation (AGCFF), said preparations for the tournament were on in full swing.
“We’re looking forward to hosting thousands of fans from across the region as Qatar continues preparations for the FIFA World Cup in 2022,” said Al Rumaihi, who addressed a press conference along with Jassim Al Shaikani, vice-president of the AGCFF, and Khalid Al Kuwari, Qatar Football Association’s marketing and communications director.
Al Shaikani discounted unconfirmed reports about a likely pull out by Yemen.
“It’s hard to see what could happen in the future, but we’ve confirmation that they’re participating. If they withdraw, there’s nothing we can do,” said Al Shaikani.
“Our main objective is to continue with the tournament. There’s a lot happening in this region, but the Cup is a legacy that has to be inherited by our children and grandchildren,” he added.
Commenting on the non-participation of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, Al Rumaihi said the AGCFF had waited until the last minute before going ahead with the draw.
“It’s important for all the teams to take part. We invited them, we waited until the last minute, but no positive responses came. So we went ahead with our plans, there’s nothing we can do at the moment,” he said.
Al Kuwari said the tournament tickets, priced at QAR 50, 30 and 10, would go on sale online from Thursday at www.GulfCup2019.qa.
From November 1, tickets will also be available at the Mall of Qatar, Doha Festival City, Villagio, Souq Waqif and Hamad International Airport.
Al Kuwari added that Qatar Airways would announce special travel packages for fans from other countries in the coming days.