Al Wakrah: Strong desire to improve position
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 Wakrah, coached by Spaniard Marquez Lopez, are bracing for the remainder of the season in the top flight. They will play Al Sailiya in Week 18 at the Al Janoub Stadium on 26th July, 2020. The kick-off is at 16:45.
Al Wakrah are seventh in the QNB Stars League standings with 19 points. The Blue Wave have recorded five wins, four draws and eight defeats, and their goal difference is -3, having scored 24 goals and conceded 27.
Al Wakrah had lost 1-2 to Al Gharafa in Week 17 on 5th March before the long break. They thus suffered the heartbreak of three defeats in a row after beating Al Shahania 4-1 in Week 14. The other losses were against leaders Al Duhail (0-1) and Umm Salal (1-2) in Week 15 and Week 16 respectively.
Despite coming from the Second Division, Al Wakrah’s ambitions are high and they made their intentions clear right from the start of this season. Marquez’s men had bowed out of both Amir Cup and Ooredoo Cup in the quarterfinal stage, and they have only league competition to focus on.
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, Al Wakrah 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.
The team has technical stability with the continuation of Marquez, who oversaw their promotion from the Second Division. Their overseas professionals and Qatari players, such as Algerian striker Mohamed Benyettou and Brazilian defender Lucas Mendes, goalkeeper Saud Al Khater, Ismail Mahmoud, Ahmed Fadel, Jassim Al Jalabi, Abdulrahman Fakhro and Ahmed Suhail, are also continuing.
Meanwhile, striker Meshaal Abdullah announced his retirement, making Al Wakrah his last team to play in the league. The former Qatar international had a distinguished career with a number of clubs, most notably Al Ahli.
Besides intense training, Al Wakrah are readying for the resumption of action by playing friendlies. They played out a 1-1 draw with Al Shahania in one such game recently.
Al Wakrah’s other remaining matches in the QNB Stars League are against Al Khor (Week 19), Al Arabi (Week 20), Al Ahli (Week 21) and Al Rayyan (Week 22).