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Posted On: 18 August 2019 10:30 am
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:04 pm

Why the 2019–20 season of Qatar Stars League will be exciting to watch!

Manan Bhavnani
Manan Bhavnani
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While largely popular within domestic boundaries, the Qatari football team has been making waves over the past few years. Earlier this year, the national side claimed the champion title of 2019 AFC Asian Cup football tournament as they overcame Japan in the final.

Qatar Asian Cup 2019 final
Qatar captain Hassan Al-Haydos (centre) with the AFC Asian Cup trophy. Image:

The league, meanwhile, has seen former Spain international and ex-Barcelona player Xavi Hernandez spend three years at Al Sadd SC, before becoming the club's head coach on a two-year deal ahead of the 19/20 season.

Xavi-Al Sadd
Xavi Hernandez in a league game for Al Sadd. Image:

The pool of talent does not stop there, however, as one of the recent recruits to the league is Medhi Benatia, the Moroccan center half who joined Al-Duhail in January. The veteran defender has played for both Bayern Munich and Juventus, having had a successful career in European football. After a successful few weeks of the previous campaign, Benatia will be key in defence come the new season.

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Mehdi Benatia in an AFC Champions League game for Al-Duhail SC on 5 March. Image: The Peninsula.

Even more exciting to watch, however, will be Yacine Brahimi, a member of Algeria's stellar campaign in this summer's African Cup of Nations. The 29-year-old midfielder joins QSL side Al-Rayyan after five fruitful years with Porto in the Portuguese Primeira Liga, where he won the league title in 2017/18.

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Brahimi (left), pictured with Sheikh Ali bin Saud Al Thani at his unveiling as an Al-Rayyan player. Image: Twitter/Al Rayyan SC

Brahimi’s quality can be seen in the numbers he produced in his final season with Porto as the Algerian bagged 12 goals and 2 assists across 39 appearances in all competitions.

Besides club and country honors, Brahimi has also amassed individual accolades. In 2014, he was voted the BBC African Footballer of the Year and was Porto's player of the season in 2017. In the 2013/14 season when he was at Granada, Brahimi finished the campaign as the top dribbler in La Liga, making over 100 successful dribbles, surpassing both Lionel and Cristiano Ronaldo in the process.

Another player to watch out for will be Mexico international Hector Moreno, who has joined Al-Gharafa from Spanish side Real Sociedad. The 31-year-old defender's former clubs include Dutch giants PSV and Serie A side Roma. Moreno has also represented his country at the World Cup on 3 occasions.

Among others to watch will be Asian Cup top scorer Almoez Ali, who will be looking to mount a title challenge with 17/18 champions Al Duhail. The question worth asking then, is, can Xavi’s Al Sadd retain the league title?

The new season kicks off at 5:20 pm on 21 August as the reigning champions host Al Wakrah at Al Sadd Stadium. For a full list of fixtures and to buy tickets, please refer to the QSL website.