“An Orient Tour” – Neuchâtel Xamax in Bahrain & Saudi Arabia

First off – the title. Not my words, the words of Swiss newspaper L’Express on February 11th, 1976. I imagine this is as outdated in Swiss French as they are in English.

Photo from BNA Zaman
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When Vasas Were the Best Team in the World

In 1968, Hungary’s communist poster boys thought playing Argentina’s world champions in their rabidly anti-communist backyard was a good idea. It was.

Nips out: Vasas in possibly the most transparent football shirts in the world. (1968, Argentina)
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Groundhopping in Bahrain #5 – Al Najma Stadium (Bahrain/Saudi Women’s Tournament)

Last year, as part of its ongoing reforms, Saudi Arabia launched its women’s football league, something that wasn’t only a surprise to a westerner like myself, but to many locals. It’s been clear for a while that change was coming to the KSA, but the sheer pace of it has taken many folks by surprise. I left a teaching job in Saudi just five years ago in 2016, but just five years later the country is unrecognisable in some respects, with women now able to drive, travel freely and – pertinent to today’s blog – play sports competitively.

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Groundhopping in Bahrain #4 – Muharraq Stadium (Muharraq vs. Al Ahed – AFC Cup)

With my first forays into Bahraini football finding nought but low attendances, single-stand grounds and a distinct lack of visible fan culture, I was looking forward to visiting Muharraq, Bahrain’s footballing powerhouse and by far their most supported club.

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