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Arabian Gulf Cup

Arabian Gulf Cup

At the time of writing, teams are contesting the 25th Arabian Gulf Cup in Iraq. Also known as Khaleeji Zain 25 because of sponsorship, the tournament is for the eight members of the Arab Gulf Cup Football Federation.

The event takes place once every two years and in 2023, the Arabian Gulf Cup has returned to Iraq for the first time since 1979.

The idea for the Arabian Gulf Cup was formed during the 1968 Olympic Games and the first competition took place just two years later. The 1970 Arabian Gulf Cup was won by Kuwait and hosted by Bahrain.

Only four teams participated in the first edition of the tournament and they played one round of group fixtures. Along with the eventual winners, Kuwait and the hosts, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar participated in the event.

In terms of winners, Kuwait have been the most successful team in the history of the Arabian Gulf Cup and have won the tournament 10 times. No other team comes close to replicating their number of victories despite the fact you must go back to 2010 to find the last time Kuwait won the Arabian Gulf Cup.

There are three nations who each have 3 victories to their name and they are Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Iraq. Saudi Arabia may only have 3 Arabian Gulf titles to their name but they have reached the final 10 times and finished in third place 7 times, meaning they regularly reach the semi-final of the competition.

It is worth noting, when making any comparisons that Iraq were banned from the tournament between 1992 and 2003. In addition, there has been no third place playoff since 2007.

A total of seven nations have won the Arabian Gulf Cup, with Bahrain being the latest team to join the list having tasted success in 2019.

Therefore, they are the defending champions going into the 2023 event and it will be interesting to see if they can retain their title. Kuwait and Saudi Arabia are the only two nations to have successfully defended the Arabian Gulf Cup, so it is not an easy task.

Yemen are the least successful nation in the history of the Arabian Gulf Cup and including the 2023 event, they have yet to win a single game in the tournament.

Yemen have played a total of 30 matches and have lost 24 times, picking up only 6 points. Despite having played 28 matches fewer than Iraq, Yemen have conceded 21 more goals. Yemen have scored only 9 goals in the Arabian Gulf Cup, 2 of which came in the 2023 event.

Switching to individual records and Jasem Yaqoub is the leading scoring in the history of the Arabian Gulf Cup with 18 goals to his name.

He scored the majority of his goals in the early years of the tournament, when Kuwait were dominant. Of the players still in action, Ali Mabkhout of United Arab Emirates has 13 goals while Bader Al-Mutawa of Kuwait has 12 goals to his name. With both players in their 30s, it is unlikely they are going to catch Yaqoub at the top of the chart.

Featured match

Gulf Cup of Nations Group A
Iraq 7 3 2 1 0 7 0 7
Oman 7 3 2 1 0 5 3 2
Saudi Arabia 3 3 1 0 2 3 4 -1
Yemen 0 3 0 0 3 2 10 -8
Gulf Cup of Nations Group B
Bahrain 7 3 2 1 0 5 3 2
Qatar 4 3 1 1 1 4 3 1
Kuwait 4 3 1 1 1 2 3 -1
U.A.E. 1 3 0 1 2 2 4 -2

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