Gulf football tournament, birthplace of stars, talents


The Late Amir Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah receiving Kuwaiti national football team, winner of the Eighth Gulf Cup tournament that was held in Bahrain in 1996.

KUWAIT: The 23rd Gulf Cup for Football, scheduled for December 22 until January 5, will continue the legacy of the prestigious tournament, which kicked off in the early 70s.

Since 1970, the Gulf Football Cup had become the venue were several stars and talents were born. This prestigious tournament helped the status of the game to progress in the Gulf region, bringing various footballers to the attention of the world.

In 1970, Bahrain was the venue of the first-ever Gulf Cup tournament with the four teams of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, and Bahrain taking part. Kuwait was crowned as champion.

Saudi Arabia hosted the second tournament in 1972 with the participation of the five teams of Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Bahrain. Again, the Kuwaitis were crowned as champions.

Two years forward, Kuwait hosted the tournament in 1974 with the participation of the six teams of Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, the UAE, and Oman. The teams were separated in two groups with Kuwait coming up on top again.

The 1976 tournament saw the participation of Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, the UAE, Oman, and host Qatar. Kuwait dominated the tournament, winning it for the fourth time in a row.

In 1979, the Kuwaiti dominance over the tournament was broken with Iraq winning the tournament it hosted. Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE, Oman, Bahrain, and Iraq took part in the competition.

The UAE hosted the sixth tournament in 1982 with the participation of seven countries. Kuwait came back and retained the title.

HH the Amir, who was then Prime Minister, hands out the Cup to the Saudi football team captain after winning the 16th Gulf Cup held in Kuwait in 2004.

Oman hosted the seventh tournament in 1984. The Iraqis returned home as champions. In 1986, Kuwait won the tournament, which was held in Bahrain. This was the Kuwaiti team’s sixth title. Saudi Arabia hosted the 1988 tournament. Iraq won the title for the third time.

In 1990, Kuwait hosted the tournament and its team was crowned champion for the seventh time. Iraq withdrew from the competition. Qatar hosted the 1992 Gulf Cup. The 11th edition of the tournament, which was missing the Iraqi team, and saw the host Qatar win the tournament for the very first time.

The UAE hosted the 1994 Gulf Cup tournament with six teams participating. Saudi Arabia won the tournament for the first time since the tournament kicked off.

The 13th edition of the tournament was held in Oman in 1996. Kuwait came back to the winners’ podium, clinching its eighth title. Bahrain hosted the tournament in 1998. Kuwait won the title for the ninth time.

In 2002, Saudi Arabia hosted the tournament and won the title for the second time. Kuwait’s 2003 tournament saw Saudi Arabia continuing to dominate, winning the trophy for the third time.

The 2004 tournament held in Qatar saw eight teams partaking in the event. Qatar won the tournament for second time in its history.

The UAE’s 18th edition of the championship in 2007 saw the host winning the title for the very first time.
Oman hosted the 19th incarnation of the tournament and the host country won the title for the first time since the tournament was held.

Yemen, the new team to be included in the tournament, hosted the 2010 Gulf Cup. Kuwait won the title for the tenth time.
Bahrain’s 2013 tournament saw the UAE winning the title for the second time. In 2014, Qatar snatched its third title in the tournament held in Saudi Arabia. – KUNA