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Oman vs. Kuwait to open Gulf Cup
By Abdullah Al-Hariri Saudi Gazette
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 04 - 01 - 2009

Host Oman opens 19th Gulf Cup tournament against Kuwait at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex in Muscat, Sunday.
Bahrain will face Iraq at the same venue later in the evening in the 14-day championship.
The championship will kick off without an opening ceremony. The tournament's organizing committee has canceled it due to the Israeli attacks in Gaza.
The eight participating teams have been drawn into two groups. The top two teams from each group will advance to the semifinals to be played on Jan. 14. The final will be played on Jan. 17.
Nine-time winner Kuwait is back in action after FIFA suspended its ban just weeks ahead of the tournament. It is in Group A with host Oman, Bahrain and the 2007 Asian champion Iraq.
Saudi Arabia, which has won the title three times in 1994, 2002 and 2003 is in a tough Group B with defending champion the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Yemen.
The UAE, which won its first Gulf Cup title in 2007, had then edged Saudi Arabia 1-0 in the semifinal match in Abu Dhabi.
Only Yemen, Oman and Bahrain have not yet won the title while Iraq has bagged the crown three times. Qatar has won the cup twice.
Ahead of this year's tournament, Saudi Arabia has held an intensive training camp in Dammam and Riyadh before the team headed to Oman on Friday evening.
Saudi Arabia's coach Nasser Al-Johar has said that he is traveling to Oman to win the cup.
Al-Johar was also the hero when the host Saudi team clinched the title in 2002 after edging Qatar in the final match.
Al-Johar aims to record another personal victory especially after rumors that the Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF) is looking for a coach for the national side.
The cup matches will be broadcast on Qatar-based Al-Jazeerah Sports Channel, Al-Dawri and Al-Kass Sports Channel and Oman second satellite channel. __


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