Al Arabi: Keen to be back in top-four group
Clubs are continuing their preparations ahead of the resumption of 2019-20 QNB Stars League, with Week 18 matches starting on 24th July. The tournament, which had a long break due to the Covid-19 pandemic, will restart as per the general plan and protocol for the remaining five rounds. Teams are fighting to occupy the top positions, improve their rankings and avoid the ignominy of relegation.
The Qatar Stars League (QSL) website highlights each team and their preparations ahead of the resumption of competitions.
Al Arabi are gearing up for the remainder of the season under Icelandic coach Heimir Hallgrimsson. They will play Al Gharafa in Week 18 at the Al Janoub Stadium on 24th July, 2020. The kick-off is at 16:45.
Al Arabi are fifth in the QNB Stars League standings, behind Al Duhail, Al Rayyan, Al Sadd and Al Gharafa in that order, with 24 points.
The Dream Team have six wins, as many draws and five defeats against their name. Their goal difference is +3 (27 goals for and 24 against).
Al Arabi had beaten Al Khor 1-0 in Week 17 on 6th March before the long break and will look to continue from where they left off, as they are keen to break into the top-four group. That will also earn them a berth in the Qatar Cup and an opportunity to play in the AFC Champions League.
Following their first coronavirus test, held as per the protocol developed by the QSL in co-ordination with club authorities and approved by the Ministry of Public Health, the Al Arabi squad members entered their team hotel and got engaged in training.
After their second coronavirus test, the players as well as technical and administrative staff signed a pledge to abide by the protocol for leaving team hotel for home quarantine.
Besides intense training amid repeated Covid-19 tests, Al Arabi are readying for the resumption of action by playing friendlies. They played out a 1-1 draw with Al Khor in one such game.
Hallgrimsson has full squad at his disposal with the return of Qatar internationals Musab Khader, Ahmed Fathy, Jassem Jaber and Yousef Abdulrazzaq after the conclusion of national team camp.
The team has great stability, with the club management renewing the contracts of a number of players, including Mohammed Saad Al Badri (three seasons), Jasser Yahya (two seasons), Abdullah Al Sulaiti (until 2024), Khalifa Al Maliki (three years), Fahd Shnain (two seasons), Fahd Khalfan (two seasons), Ahmed Fathy (until 2022) and Mohammed Salah El Neel (until 2024).
Overseas professionals, such as Iranian Morteza Pouraliganji, Icelander Aron Gunnarsson, Tunisian Hamdi Harbaoui, German Pierre-Michel Lasogga and Spaniard Marc Muniesa are also continuing with the side.
Al Arabi’s other remaining matches in the QNB Stars League are against Al Rayyan (Week 19), Al Wakrah (Week 20), Al Sailiya (Week 21) and Qatar SC (Week 22).