Bahrain’s Muharraq head to the AFC Cup Final

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.

Mikel John Obi (source: Sho Pen Online)
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Mikel John Obi Heads to Bahrain for AFC Cup Showdown

The former Boro (and Chelsea and Nigeria) star captains Kuwait City against Muharraq on Wednesday.

Photo: Evening Gazette

In an influx of star power not seen since pop pervert Michael Jackson came to live here, Bahrain has seen some big footballing names visit the island over the last week.

We’ve seen Dutch legend Patrick Kluivert managing Curacao, former AC Milan & Japan midfielder Keisuke Honda managing Cambodia and – perhaps less glamorously – a goalscoring turn from Burnley’s Chris Wood in New Zealand’s first game for two years.

And the slightly-past-their-prime stars keep coming on Wednesday, as former Boro favourite Mikel John Obi (not John Obi Mikel) captains Kuwait City against Muharraq in the AFC Cup Regional Final.

Fully expecting Phil Whelan to turn up for Al Najma next week at this rate. Still no Alexander Hleb though…

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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