Preparations at Basrah International Stadium ahead of Iraq’s first Gulf Cup since 1979
After more than 40 years since last hosting, Iraq awaits the 25th Arabian Gulf Cup, which is scheduled to take place in under two months in the city of Basra, southern Iraq. The 25th Arabian Gulf Cup will be held from the 6th to the 19th of January next year, with 8 participating teams.
The Arab Gulf Cup Football Federation has begun steps to ensure the readiness of Basra to receive the Gulf forum, beginning with the delegation of the Arab Gulf Cup Football Federation, which arrived in Basra in late October, to inspect the facilities for the tournament. The eight teams are divided into two groups, with the host country team, Iraq and the champion of the last Gulf Cup, Bahrain in opposite teams.
Former international player and top scorer of the Iraqi national team, Younis Mahmoud, said that the Gulf Cup is a “sporting, political and economic event, that will contribute to the rapprochement of the Gulf peoples with Iraq.” Mahmoud added that “the Gulf Cup is of great importance to Iraq, as it will enable the opportunity of discovering new football talents, whether in Iraq or in the participating countries.” He mentions “the need to use this sporting event to prepare a new generation of players and enhance the chances of the Iraqi team in upcoming international sporting events.”
The teams are divided into the two groups as follows:
Group A: Iraq, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and Oman
Group B: Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates
Iraq hosted the fifth Gulf Cup for the first time in 1979 in the capital, Baghdad, at Al-Shaab International Stadium. The Gulf Cup is organized every two years, and the first Gulf Cup was held in Bahrain in 1970, while Qatar hosted the last one in 2019, in which Bahrain won the first title in its history.
The Basra Governor, Asaad Al-Eidani, confirmed the completion of all the necessary preparations for the success of the 25th Gulf Cup. He told the Iraq International News Agency, “what is happening in Basra in terms of reconstruction is just the beginning, as the Basra Governorate must become the jewel of the Gulf,” noting that “a plan has been initiated”. He added that “all the necessary preparations must be completed to ensure the success of the tournament.”