Nilmar: the scourge of defenders in Qatar
By Sports Reporter/Doha
Al Rayyan striker Nilmar has sounded a warning to rival defenders after scotching rumours he was keen to leave the club. “We are ready for the Sheikh Jassim Cup,” he declared while committing himself to the Lions for the 2013-14 season which kicks off at various grounds with four matches today.
Eighteen teams have been divided into four groups in the season-opening event which will help the teams assess their strengths and weaknesses before the more prestigious Qatar Stars League begins in September.
Nilmar adjusted to Al Rayyan brilliantly after leaving Villareal and emerged as one of the most prolific scorers in Qatar, netting 17 goals in 26 matches for his team, the defending Sheikh Jassim Cup champions.
“I keep hearing rumours that other clubs have made me offers or that I am leaving, but that is not the case,” he was quoted as saying on the club’s website.
“Right now we are preparing for the new season and I am part of the group that is working hard at the moment.”
Al Rayyan, who defeated Al Sadd for the title last year, are in Group A and will take on Al Arabi at Qatar Sports Club today, the match starting at 9.45pm because of Ramadan.
Commenting on the event, Qatar Football Association (QFA) Director of Tournaments Hamad al-Mannai said, “As the Sheikh Jassim Cup is the opening event of the football season in Qatar, we have completed all the preparations from an organisational perspective.
“We have allocated four stadiums this year and these will be Al Khor Stadium, Qatar Sports Club, Al Gharafa Stadium and Al Ahli Stadium. All matches will start simultaneously,” said al-Mannai.
QFA marketing and communications director Khalid al-Kuwari added: “We have laid out a full-fledged plan that focuses on marketing and media efforts in co-operation with the different departments in QFA.
“An agreement has been inked with Al Kass Channel, the host broadcaster to telecast live only one match in each stage of the tournament. We thank our partners for their continued support and we hope to constantly build on the existing strong relationship.
“We would like to wish every club participating in this tournament good luck and hope they succeed in the football season of this year.”
Qatar giants Al Sadd begin their campaign tomorrow with a match against lowly Muaither. Hussein’s Amotta’ side won the Qatar Stars League last season surviving a late charge from Lekhwiya, but couldn’t win any of the Cup tournaments to really stamp their supremacy.
However, with Brazilian striker Leandro da Silva returning to the side after a spell with Gamba Osaka, the former Asian Champions League champions can look forward to consolidate on the gains they made last season.
Meanwhile, El Jaish have retained the services of Brazilian midfielder Wagner Renan Ribeiro for another five years. The 25-year-old will stay with El Jaish until 2018, the club confirmed. Wagner’s stellar show last year enabled the team finish third in the QSL, behind Al Sadd and Lekhwiya.
In the 2010-11 QSL season, Wagner saved his team Al Ahli from getting relegated, first by scoring the only goal against Al Sailiya in the pre-relegation playoff and then by netting a hat trick against Al Shamal in the relegation playoff.
He moved to El Jaish the same season and has appeared in 22 games since his debut and has scored 10 goals for so far.
Al Rayyan vs Al Arabi at Qatar Sports Club
Al Gharafa vs Al Markhiya at Al Khor
El Jaish vs Al Shamal at Al Ahli
Qatar Sports Club vs Al Shahaniya at Al Gharafa
(all matches begin at 9.45pm)
Group A: Al Rayyan, Al Gharafa, Al Arabi and Al Markhiya
Group B: El Jaish, Qatar Sports Club, Al Sailiya, Al Shamal and Al Shahaniya
Group C: Lekhwiya, Umm Salal, Al Wakrah and Al Ahli
Group D: Al Sadd, Al Khor, Al Kharatiat, Muaither and Meseimeer
Sheikh Jassim Cup roll of honour
•1977/78 : Al Sadd
•1978/79 : Al Sadd
•1979/80 : Al Sadd
•1980/81 : Al Arabi
•1981/82 : Al Sadd
•1982/83 : Al Arabi
•1983/84 : Qatar Sports Club
•1984/85 : Qatar Sports Club
•1985/86 : Al Sadd
•1986/87 : Al Sadd
•1987/88 : Qatar Sports Club
•1988/89 : Al Sadd
•1989/90 : Al Wakrah
•1990/91 : Al Sadd
•1991/92 : Al Wakrah
•1992/93 : Al Rayyan
•1993/94 : Wasn’t held
•1994/95 : Al Arabi
•1995/96 : Qatar
•1996/97 : Al Shamal
•1997/98 : Al Sadd
•1998/99 : Al Wakrah
•1999/00 : Al Sadd
•2000/01 : Al-Rayyan
•2001/02 : Al-Sadd
•2002/03 : Al-Khor
•2003/04 : Al-Shabab
•2004/05 : Al-Wakrah
•2005/06 : Al-Gharafa
•2006/07 : Al-Sadd
•2007/08 : Al-Gharafa
•2008/09 : Al-Arabi
•2009 : Umm Salal
•2010 : Al-Arabi
•2011 : Al-Arabi
•2012 : Al-Rayyan
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