By Sports Reporter/Doha
Newly-formed Qatar Stars League club Al Duhail took part in their first ever training session on Sunday evening as the side prepared for their first ever campaign. Duhail existence comes into force after the merger of QSL clubs Lekhwiya and El Jaish SC.
Lekhwiya was established in 2009 and was able to move to Qatar Stars League in the following season. The team won the QSL five times and won the Emir Cup once, and the Qatar Cup once. The Club reached the quarter-finals of the AFC Champions League twice and was ranked as one of the sixth best club according to the Asian Football Confederation.
El Jaish SC appeared in the 2011 Stars League, and the club managed to quickly book their place among the top clubs. The club won the Qatar Cup twice and reached the semi-finals of the AFC Champions League. Duhail returned to training, under the watchful eye of head coach Djamel Belmadi. A host of former Lekhwiya players turned out for training, including leading scorer Yusef El-Arabi, QFA Player of the year Nam Tae Hee and midfielder Karim Boudiaf.
While the four new players signed from El Jaish, goalkeepers Saoud al-Khater and Ahmed Soufiane along with Murad Naji and Abdurahman Abker also joined in with the session. Al Duhail will now train in Doha till the 20th of July, before headlining onto their preseason training camp in Austria till the 10th of August.
A total of 12 teams will compete in the QSL this year. They are Al Duhail, Al Sadd, Al Rayyan, Al Gharafa, Umm Salal, Al Sailiya, Al Kharatiyat, Al Arabi, Al Ahli, Qatar, and Al Markhiya.
Al Wakrah will not feature this year, after they were relegated last Season. El Jaish will also not feature, following their merger with Lekhwiya to become Al Duhail. The league’s first round will kick off in mid-September.
Xavi to join Al Sadd’s training camp
Qatar Cup and Emir Cup holders Al Sadd SC announced that Spanish legend Xavi Hernandez will join the team’s training camp in Austria, as they ramp up preparations for the new season. Also joining him will be Baghdad Bounedjah, Jugurtha Hamroun, and Pedro.
Sadd have already launched their pre-season training in the attendance of Director of Football Mohammed Ghanem al-Ali and Sporting Director Mohammed Gholam al-Baloushi, ahead of the team’s trip to Austria on July 20. Al Sadd will be missing the services of its international players such as Salem al-Hajeri and Meshaal al-Shemari, who are participating in the 2018 AFC U-23 Championship qualifiers. They duo will join their team-mates in Austria on July 24.
The training camp will focus primarily on getting the players physically ready for the rigours of the new season. Coach Jesualdo Ferreira will also look to drill the players on tactics and team building.
Umm Salal swoops for Yousef
Umm Salal have announced the signing of former Al Wakrah striker Mahir Yousef. Yousef signed a one year deal with the option for a one year contract extension.
The Forward has has plenty of experience in the QSL, and is no stranger to the Umm Salal set-up having previously played on loan with the side. Umm Salal has also renewed the contracts of two players ahead of the new season.
Veteran defender Jawad Ahannach and midfielder Ali Bazmandegan have signed one year extensions with the club. Umm Salal formally returned to preseason training on Sunday evening, as Mahmoud Jaber’s side look to improve on their sixth place finish in the QSL last season. Umm Salal are set for a training camp from August 10th to 27th in Holland.
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