Date: Tuesday, February 10, 2015
Timing: 18:15 Local Time, GMT (GMT+3).
Venue: Kuwait SC Stadium, Kuwait City, Kuwait.
The second match of the 2nd qualifying round (West) in the 2015 AFC Champions League is set to be a clash between two giants familiar to Middle Eastern and Arab fans across the globe. Qadsia Sports Club go head-to-head against one of the teams immersed in the famous Jordanian duopoly; Al-Wehdat. The one-legged play-off will be settled in Kuwait – where Qadsia are based – but not at ‘the Kings’ stadium, but rather at the Kuwait Sports City Stadium; a stadium that seats 18,500 people. Both teams have been part of long success stories in their domestic competitions but have -yet to make a real mark in the most important continental competition in Asia.
Founded in the mid-20th century, Qadsia SC is one of the most successful and most supported clubs across the Middle East. Following long spells of domestic dominance (They have won 4 titles of the last 5 Kuwaiti League seasons) and after lifting the AFC Cup last season, they will now look to finally push on into the AFC Champions League Group Stage, after failing to reach the group stages since 2008.
An undefeated season saw them win yet another Kuwaiti league title taking their tally to 16. They were crowned champions finishing 4 points ahead of rivals Kuwait SC.
After a win in the Kuwaiti Super Cup in the season opener, Al Qadsia now sit in second place, 3 points behind the table toppers Al-Arabi.
Antonio Puche began managing the club in early 2014 and led them to their first AFC Cup win against Erbil in October 2014. A regular in the lower leagues of Spain during his playing years and half a dozen of assistant manager jobs has led him to his first managerial post, at one of Kuwait’s most successful clubs.
Aziz Al Mashaan: A Kuwaiti midfielder known for his brilliant ability on the ball and nimble running, Aziz Al Mashaan was a bright spot in an otherwise unimpressive Asian Cup campaign for Kuwait and he is currently the second top scorer in the Al Qadsia team.
Formed almost 60 years ago representing the Amman New Camp (a Palestinian refugee camp), Wehdat have become one of the most successful teams in the Jordan after winning 13 Jordanian league titles. They share a fierce rivalry with local enemies Al-Faisaly, who are by far the most successful team in Jordan.
Despite a 2-0 defeat from fierce rivals Al-Faisaly, they still won the league by a four points margin, while they also completed the double by winning the Manaseer Jordan FA Cup against Al Baq’a.
Their first loss of the season against Al-Ahli just last week sees them maintaining first place ahead of Ramtha by a measly two points.
Abdullah Abu Zema is a former Jordanian international of Palestinian descent. He played for Al-Wehdat for 12 years and is now managing for the first time (fittingly at the same club) after a brief assistant managerial stint at Kuwait SC.
Amer Shafi: the goalkeeper who played in the Asian Cup for Jordan in 2015 after conceding only 5 in 12 games for Al-Wehdat. Shafi is no stranger to the international scene with 110 caps to his name, and he has been an Al-Wehdat regular since his move from home club Al-Yarmouk in 2007. Shafi is the key to help Wehdat keep a clean sheet in the one-off match against Qadsia’s dynamic front three.