Saturday, September 12, 2015
Groundhopping, Kuwait Style
Catching a game used to be so easy. You would pick up the paper in the morning, turn to the sports pages and hey presto there was a list of matches to choose from complete with kick off times. I thought the whole world was like that but nope, it ain't so simple. First in Indonesia and then Malaysia I learned printed or announced fixture lists aren't meant as any kind of guide for the casual fan. They are released because, well, um, someone has to do it and no consideration is given to accuracy. Some jobsworth thinks he has to release the fixtures, he does, job done. Not his problem if the list is inaccurate.
The confusion over the venue for Qadsia’s first Federation Cup tie was to be a sign of things to come. Their second game saw them play Al Fahahhel, perennial cannon fodder from the lower reaches of the
table, and for several days ahead of the clash the Kuwait FA website showed the game being played at
the Kuwait SC stadium. It was no surprise then to learn on match day it was moved to Kazma’s Peace
and Friendship Stadium.
Like the Rochdale Supporters’ Club (Kuwait Branch) I was excited by the announcement as it meant a
new ground for us all. Thanks to the wonders of GSM and the light traffic on the roads we had little
difficulty in finding the stadium and arrived with a good 40 minutes to spare before kick off. Given the
lack of interest towards the Federation Cup we were not surprised to see there was no one else around
save the odd workmen doing workmen type things. We raced up the steps in eager anticipation of a
new ground only to find it was the same as most others we had been to; a covered stand and an open
terrace with a running track keeping any fans at bay from the pitch.
Considering there was a match due to start in a few minutes there seemed to be a lack of urgency
anywhere. Indeed there seemed to be a lack of people on the pitch. The light warm up sessions you
might expect from both sides were noticeably absent and on closer inspection so were the while lines
on the pitch. A clue! You can’t have a football match with an unmarked pitch so disappointed we
trooped back to the car and pondered our next move.
Given the first venue for the game had been given as Kuwait SC’s stadium we decided to head there
and we assumed we had chosen correctly when the tall floodlight pylons loomed on the horizon, their
bright lights acting as a beacon to one and all...there is a game on lads! Except there wasn’t! Instead it
appeared the lights had been put on to allow the groundstaff to water the pitch with their sprinklers and
hoses. Heaven forbid they do that in the dark.
It was now five minutes to kick off wherever the game was and we decided to head to Mansouriya. At
least we knew Al Salmiya were slated to play there. At least according to the Kuwait FA website. As
we drove we surfed the web and guess what? The Qadsia game was being streamed live...from
Mansouriya! We made good time, missed the first 10 minutes but at least caught the game and as we
sat in the stand watching Al Fahaheel struggle to keep up with Qadsia we couldn’t help but wonder;
where were Al Salmiya playing? (Fahaheel was the answer though we didn't know it at the time!)
Federation Cup Week 2 Results
Kazma v Al Jahra 7-0
Burgan v Al Nasr 6-2
Kuwait SC v Al Shabab 5-1
Al Salmiya v Al Yarmouk 2-0
Qadsia v Al Fahaheel 4-1
Al Arabi v Al Tadamun 10-1