After a long break, the 2020-21 Arabian Gulf League season is just around the corner, ready to quench the thirst of its football fans. So, if you’re not already following the league, now is definitely the best time to start catching up on all the action. Here are some of the top reasons to be watching the Arabian Gulf League.
The league has teams from all over the UAE, so you are guaranteed to find a team that you can identify with. A total of 14 teams, distributed over five Emirates, fight for the title. This season, each of Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman and Fujairah has one or more representatives in the league. Abu Dhabi has the biggest share with five clubs; Al Ain, Al Dhafra, Al Jazira, Al Wahda and Bani Yas. Meanwhile, Hatta, Al Wasl, Al Nasr and Shabab Al Ahli are all based in the Emirate of Dubai. Sharjah, Khorfakkan and Ittihad Kalba represent their respective cities within the smiling Emirate, while the emirates of Fujairah and Ajman are represented by the teams carrying their names.
If you don’t already support a certain club, pick one and start enjoying the action.
The 2008-09 season marked the first Arabian Gulf League season in the professional era. Since then, five different clubs have achieved glory. Among them, three have lifted the trophy more than multiple times; Al Ain (4), Shabab Al Ahli (3) and Al Jazira (2), while Sharjah and Al Wahda won the title once each. It is always a fierce battle with no one-club domination. The race for the top four spots is even more exciting, with tickets for the AFC Champions League up for grabs for the top two, a play-off place on offer for third place while the fourth-placed team could also make it to the play-off round, if the President’s Cup winners also finish in the top three.
UAE national team stars
While football is a team sport, individual moments of genius can sometimes decide results and the Arabian Gulf League is a stage for a number of incredible Emirati talents, who give the fans a chance to see something special every round. From Ali Mabkhout, the UAE national team’s all-time leading goalscorer and the world’s leading goalscorer in 2019, to veteran Ismail Matar, MVP in the 2003 FIFA U20 World Cup and not one but two former AFC Asian Player of the Year winners in Ahmed Khalil and Omar Abdulrahman, there is an abundance of talent in the Arabian Gulf League that will keep you mesmerized.
High quality overseas players
The Arabian Gulf League has a proven track record of recruiting skilled international talents. World-class foreign players have been a long-standing feature of the league, with clubs consistently spoiling their fans with some excellent recruits and raising the bar with every season. Currently, 54 foreign players from 27 nationalities are represented on the Arabian Gulf League pitches, including a crop of highly accomplished Brazilian and Argentinean stars. You will definitely enjoy watching players like Carlos Eduardo of Shabab Al Ahli, Al Ain’s Kodjo Laba, Sharjah’s Igor Coronado and Al Nasr’s Ryan Mendes among others.
The Arabian Gulf League teams give plentiful opportunities to young players to prove themselves. Every season, you will find a number of young players who grab the chance to develop and excel in a professional environment and there is really nothing more exciting than watching a young star emerges. Some of the most promising talents in the Arabian Gulf League include Al Jazira midfielder Abdullah Ramadan, Ittihad Kalba’s versatile youngster Majed Rashed and Al Wasl’s talismanic winger Ali Saleh.
Easy to watch
While unfortunately you will not be able to watch the matches at the stadium yet due to the precautionary measures to combat COVID 19, you can easily catch the action from the comfort of your own couch. Just tune to Abu Dhabi Sports Channels, Dubai Sports Channels or Sharjah Sport Channels and you will be treated to 182 live matches broadcast in full HD quality with your choice of English or Arabic commentary. If for any reason, you can’t get to a screen, follow the Arabian Gulf League’s Twitter accounts in both languages to keep an eye on all the live updates and join the conversation.
Travelling abroad for business or leisure? Worry not. Arabian Gulf League matches are now available in Europe and North America through Fanseat, in Australia and New Zealand through Sportsflick.
Once the fans are allowed back to the stands, you will definitely want to watch the live action, get a closer look to your favorite players and be part of the unique Emirati fan culture.
To make your experience even more exciting, you will need to join the Arabian Gulf League Fantasy. By signing up, you will be joining thousands of Arabian Gulf League fans in taking the manager’s seat, making your own squad choices, and testing your prediction abilities.
And if this is not enough to convince you, the Arabian Gulf League fantasy game features different prizes, including season-end prizes as well as mid-season and weekly prizes. If you are new to the Arabian Gulf League, you should definitely join this season’s fantasy game, as it will help expand your knowledge of the league and keep you motivated to remain up to date with the latest results.
If you are new to football fantasy, here are few tips that will help you every step of the way.