Wednesday, December 04, 2019

24th Arabian Gulf Cup

Qatar is hosting the Gulf Cup this year and, to everyone's surprise, the teams from Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and UAE participated. Originally there were not going to attend but suddenly they changed their mind. People here are seeing it as a sign that the frozen relations of the blockade are thawing -- maybe there'll be a breakthrough in the coming months. Tongues have been wagging with all sorts of rumours.

But for now there is football. Qatar got off to a weak start, losing 2-1 to Iraq, but finished off strong with wins in their other games to go through to the semis. The last game, against the UAE, was really important to Qataris are the UAE are considered the major rival, and with the problems at the AFC Championships earlier this year (hosted by the UAE) Qatar was hoping for a repeat of the 4-0 smack-down they gave the UAE at the earlier tournament.

The new Metro proved handy as the stadium was near a station. Heading home from work the Metro was packed with people, including lots of Qatari families heading to the game. When I got home I hopped into my car and headed to a friends' majlis to watch the game. It was worth the trip as Qatar won 4-2, to the happiness of the local crowd (including H.H. the Father Emir).

Tomorrow it's against Qatar's other rival, Saudi Arabia. But every Qatari I have spoken to is not so fussed about that game. It'll be great if Qatar wins but since they won against the UAE that's all that seems to matter. Much like the AFC Championships where no one was fussed if Qatar lost in the final (they won though!).

Best of luck to Qatar tomorrow. I'll be watching at a majlis.