Exhilarating fixtures on the card as QNB Stars League kicks off this Saturday
Exciting fixtures are on the card as the 2021-2022 season QNB Stars League kicks off this Saturday, September 11, 2021, with the opening match between Al Gharafa, last season’s fourth-place finisher, and newly-promoted Al Shamal at the Thani Bin Jassim (Al Gharafa) Stadium at 6:05 pm.
Later in the day, Umm Salal will square up against Al Rayyan while Qatar SC will play host to Al Ahli.
On Sunday, September 12, last season’s runners-up Al Duhail will be away to Al Khor while Al Wakrah will slug it out with Al Arabi. Champions Al Sadd will round up Week 1 of the new season with their match against Al Sailiya on the same day.
The 2021-2022 season is projected to be one of the most hectic in recent history, considering that the league calendar has been designed to finish by mid-March 2022 to allow members of the national team to be relieved of club duties on time to report for national assignment by April 1.
All the teams had various training camps abroad and engaged in several friendly games to get in the right shape for the new season.
The overseas professional players, who were recently involved in international duties for their countries, and the Qatar national team and Olympic team players, who played in international competitions, are expected to join their clubs this week ahead of the season openers.
With few days to the start of the competition, Al Rayyan and Al Gharafa are still active in the transfer market, recruiting professional players to bolster their ranks and meet the required quota. While Al Rayyan still needs one foreign professional, Al Gharafa is seeking two. They are the only two clubs that have not completed the contracts of their foreign professionals so far.
Meanwhile, there have been many notable transfers locally, most notably Mohammed Alaaeldin (from Al Rayyan to Al Duhail) and Ahmed Yasser (from Al Rayyan to Al Duhail). Al Arabi recruited Abdulqadir Ilyas and Hamed Ismail, while Sebastian Soria returned to Qatar SC.
Holders Al Sadd retained four of their professionals Algerian Baghdad Bounedjah, Spaniard Santi Cazorla, Brazilian Guilherme Torres, and South Korean Jung Woo-Young. The Wolves replaced South Korean Nam Tae-Hee with Ghanaian striker Andre Ayew.
Al Duhail made big changes among the foreign professionals by signing three players Tunisian Ferjani Sassi and Belgian defender Toby Alderweireld, while Nam rejoined the side following his stint in Al Sadd. The Red Knights retained Paulo Edmilson for the fourth consecutive season and Kenyan striker Michael Olunga.
Al Rayyan have decided to retain four professional players Yacine Brahimi, Cameroonian Franck Kom, Ivorian Yohan Boli and Iranian Shojae Khalilzadeh. The Lions need another overseas player to complete their quota.
Al Gharafa recently signed Algerian Mehdi Tahrat, while his compatriot Sofianne Hanni and Ivorian Jonathan Kodjia continued with the team. The Cheetahs need to recruit two more professionals.
Al Ahli signed four new foreign players Serb Marko Jevtovic, Iranian Hussein Kanaan, Nigerian Patrick Eze and Moroccan Soufiane Bouftini. The Brigadiers retained the services of Paraguayan Hernan Perez.
Qatar SC made two top deals - Spanish midfielder Javi Martinez and Algerian defender Djamel Benlamri in addition to signing Belgian Isaac Mbenza to replace Nigerian Anthony Okpotu, who suffered an ankle injury. The Kings retained Algerian Youcef Bleile and Iraqi Bashar Resan.
Al Arabi kept their professional player quartet of Tunisian Yousef Msakni, Iranian Mehrdad Mohammadi, Spaniard Marc Muniesa and Icelander Aron Gunnarsson, and newly signed Gabonese Aaron Boupendza. They offloaded Algerian Ayoub Azzi.
Al Sailiya retained the services of only two foreign professionals Iranian Ramin Rezaien and Senegalese Serigne Mbodji. They have brought in Tunisian defender Nassim Hnid, Moroccan midfielder Driss Fettouhi, Norwegian striker Adama Diomande and new additions.
Al Wakrah kept three of their foreign professionals, namely Algerian striker Mohamed Benyettou, Malian midfielder Ousmane Coulibaly and Brazilian Lucas Mendes, and roped in Iranian Omid Ebrahimi from Al Ahli and Angolan Gelson Dalla.
Umm Salal made drastic changes on the front of foreign professionals while retaining only two of them, Moses Orkuma (Nigeria) and Ayman Abdennour (Tunisia). Those who are newly in are Yaseen Al Bakhit (Jordan), Israel da Silva (Brazil) and Aymen Hussein (Iraq).
Al Khor, on the other hand, retained four of their foreign professionals Rafael Vaz (Brazil), Pierre Michel-Lasogga (Germany), Giannis Fetfatzidid (Greece) and Ismail Al Haddad (Morocco). They have recruited South Korean Koo Ja-Cheol from Al Gharafa.
Three professionals continued with Al-Shamal Dutchman Jeremy de Nooijer and Jordanians Baha Faisal and Khalil Zaid Bani Attiah. They bolstered their ranks with two new professionals, Argentinian defender Matias Nani and Colombian striker Jeison Medina Escobar.
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