By Daniel Cochran
While Newcastle can now scour the world for the finest talent thanks to a Saudi takeover, Saudi’s neighbours in Kuwait and Bahrain have to set their sights a wee bit lower.
As the Geordies’ sausage-roll encrusted faces look longingly towards the Mbappes and Haalands of the footballing world (or – more realistically – the Özils and Tarkowskis), Kuwait City can boast not only one-time Boro star Mikel John Obi, but also former Dundee United defender Ryan McGowan. Truly an embarrassment of riches.
And what better place to show them off then at the AFC Cup regional final? Al Muharraq of Bahrain hosted their Kuwait City visitors tonight and – in truth – brushed them aside to continue their fantastic run in the competition.
The hosts went ahead after 20 minutes when their tricksy number 7 Mahmoud Almardi flicked a drifted free kick over Youssef in the Kuwait goal. Brazilian forward Flavio then sealed the deal on the stroke of half time, his deflected shot ballooning into the net for 2-0.
Mikel went off injured at the beginning of the second half to cap a pretty dire night for the visitors. I’m sure the clubs in Juffair are still open if he gets a move on.
So it’s Al Muharraq of Bahrain who’ll be heading off to face Uzbekistan’s FC Nasaf in a few weeks. I say heading off, but the final will be right here in Muharraq, so they’ve hardly had to head out of the Gulf all tournament.
Unfortunately I won’t be at this one, as I’m off home for the first time in over two years. I’ll have to make do with the Boro and Marske United.