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Arabian Gulf Cup … 53 years of soccer legacy in region

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Kuwait dominance in the tournament was ended by Iraq

Kuwait’s Bader Tareq, (center), fights for the ball against Iraq’s players, during a friendly soccer match between Kuwait and Iraq at the Sports City Stadium in Basra, Iraq. (AP)

KUWAIT CITY, Jan 1: The Arabian Gulf Cup is one of the most prominent sporting events in the region and has drawn a large audience and strong competition since its inception, remarkably developing at all technical, organizing and media levels.

The tournament initially began in 1970 with the participation of only four teams, namely Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, then the number increased to five teams in the second tournament and to six teams in the third tourney.

In 1976, the tournament witnessed an increase in the number of teams to seven, and with the evolution of the Gulf Cup, the number of participating teams in (Gulf 17) reached eight teams with the addition of Yemen. Kuwait were crowned as champions in the first four tournaments in a row, 1970, 1972, 1974 and 1976.

In 1979, the Kuwaiti dominance in the tournament was broken with Iraq winning the cup they hosted. The UAE hosted the sixth cup in 1982 with participation of the seven countries. Kuwait came back and retained the title.

In 1984, Oman hosted the seventh version of the cup. The Iraqis returned home as champions. Kuwait won the title in 1986, where the eighth cup was held in Bahrain. Saudi Arabia hosted the ninth tournament in 1988. Iraq won the cup for third time.

In 1990, Kuwait hosted the competition and won the title. Iraq withdrew from the tourney. Qatar hosted the Cup in 1992, which saw the Iraqi team’s absence and hosts Qatar winning the title for the very first time.

In 1994, the UAE hosted the cup and the Saudi team won the title for the first time since the tournament kicked off. The 13th tournament was held in Oman in 1996 and Kuwait came back to the podium and clinched their eighth title.

In 1998, Kuwait also won the cup, which was held in Bahrain. In 2002, Saudi Arabia hosted the cup and won their second title. Kuwait’s 2003 tournament saw Saudi Arabia continuing as champions. Qatar’s 2004 tournament, which witnessed the participation of eight teams for first time, saw Qatar winning the title for second time.

In 2007, the UAE hosted the tournament and won the title for first time. Yemen, the new team to be included in the tournament, hosted the 2010 cup. Kuwait won the title for tenth time. Bahrain’s 2013 tournament saw the UAE winning the title for second time.

In 2014, Qatar snatched their third title in the tournament held in Saudi Arabia. In 2017, Kuwait hosted the 23rd Gulf Cup. Oman won the title for first time in its history. Bahrain won their first title in Qatar in 2019. The 25th Gulf Cup will be held in Iraq’s southern province of Basra from January 6-19, 2023. (KUNA)

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