Friday, February 12, 2016


Qadsia Looking To Extend Lead In Kuwait's Al Classico

As the Kuwait Branch of the Rochdale Supporters Club called it, today sees Kuwait's very own Al Classico. Al Arabia hosting Qadsia in Mansouriya, a game with two clubs big on tradition and also pretty close neigbhours, just a few stops on the number 15 bus separating the rivals.

The early days of football in the state saw Al Arabi most definitely rule the roost winning the title in six of the first seven seasons from 1961/62. Qadsia weren't to lift their first title until 1968/69 by which time Kuwait SC were also becoming a force to reckon with. In recent years Al Arabi have been somewhat starved of success with their last title success coming back in 2001/02 while Kuwait SC (5 successes) and Qadsia (8) have exerted their own private cartel on the Premier League.

For all their lack of success my impression is Al Arabi remain a more popular club than Kuwait SC but it is Qadsia the locals talk about with pride. Even so the history books show both have 16 titles to their name while Kuwait SC have 12 including last seasons.

The corresponding game towards the end of last season saw both sides with title ambitions and a large crowd started milling around the stadium hours before the kick off, fans in Al Arabi's green and white on that occasion at least outnumbering their yellow neighbours for a short while at least. More than 20,000 saw both sides cancel each other out with local pride trumping any meaningful title title and Kuwait SC were able to take advantage of the stalemate to go on and lift the title a couple of weeks later.

In the Emir Cup the gap is narrower with Qadsia boasting 16 victories against Al Arabi's 15 while Qadsia have eight Crown Prince Cups to their name against Al Arabi's seven.

The head to heads between the two sides are dominated by Qadsia who boast something like 82 victories from their 180 meetings over the years. In fact the only competition where Al Arabi have the upper hand is the AFC Cup with three success from their three meetings over the years.

This season saw the two sides play out an exciting 2-2 draw in Hawally in front of a reasonably large and appreciative crowd and the hopes are high for more of the same though perhaps with a larger crowd as Qadsia are expected to take a fair few with them as they seek to expand the gap between the two sides to 10 points.

Adding to the atmosphere will the sight of Congolese Doris Fuakumputu lining up for the Mansouriya side having made the switch during the recent transfer window and he certainly impressed the Al Arabi support last weekend, coming off to a standing ovation in the second half of their game against Al Sahel having played a bit deeper than he had for Qadsia.

This evening's game has all the makings of a classic in its own right and while it not make many headlines outside of Kuwait's borders for a couple of hours at least interest in the Spanish, French, Italian and English giants will be put on hold as Kuwait hosts its very own Al Classico.

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