The battle of master tacticians
Much focus will be on Al Duhail coach Djamel Belmadi and his Al Sadd counterpart Jesualdo Ferreira when the top two teams fight it out in Week 19 of the QNB Stars League on Thursday, 1st March.
Both are master tacticians who are result-oriented. They are the best coaches around. Veteran Ferreira is more experienced, having been in the profession since 1981 and coached teams in Spain, Greece and Egypt besides his native Portugal.
The 71-year-old took over Al Sadd in 2015 and has brought them much success. He is like a father and philosopher to the players, and has succeeded in making many youngsters come through the ranks. Many of the players have acknowledged this fact.
Ferreira will be keen to win his first QNB Stars League title and he knows what it takes to achieve that. His men had lost to Belmadi’s wards 2-4 in the first phase. However, victory this time will not only help them take revenge, but it will almost ensure them the title too.
Belmadi is much younger than Ferreira, but the Algerian has achieved a lot in Qatar football — at both club and country levels.
He guided erstwhile Lekhwiya, who were relaunched as Al Duhail after the merger with El Jaish, to three QNB Stars League titles.
Belmadi made it big at the regional level when he led Qatar to the Gulf Cup triumph in 2014, beating Saudi Arabia in the final.
Under him, Al Duhail have not lost a match in this season’s league competition and they are the only team to do so. The Red Knights have 15 victories to their credit, the same as Al Sadd.
However, The Wolves lost two games, against Al Duhail and Al Rayyan, in the first phase. Their devastating form in the second phase will give a harrowing time to Belmadi’s boys.