Iraq's Ali Adnan looking forward to unique FIFA World Cup experience in 2022
Doha: Ali Adnan, one of Iraq’s most successful footballing exports, is no stranger to breaking new ground during his career.
The attack-minded left-back became the first Iraqi player to play in Italy’s Serie A when he signed for Udinese in 2015. The 26-year-old then created more history when he moved to North America to play for Vancouver Whitecaps in 2019. By joining the Canadian outfit, Adnan became the first Iraqi-born player to appear in Major League Soccer.
Having set these unique milestones, the Iraqi international is well positioned to provide insight on the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and the impact it will have on the region he calls home.
Adnan took time from his busy schedule with the Whitecaps to speak to qatar2022.qa about the first World Cup that will be played in the Middle East and Arab world, as well as his hopes to lead his country – known as the Lions of Mesopotamia – to their first FIFA World Cup Finals appearance since 1986.
Tokyo: The WE League – Japan’s professional women’s league – has approved the membership of 11 founding clubs ahead of the inaugural 2021-22 season, it was announced on Thursday.
The 11 successful teams - seven of which are linked to professional men’s clubs - came from an initial list of 17 applicants, with the final number of members exceeding initial expectations of between six and 10 teams in the league’s first season.
The most successful club from the existing Nadeshiko League, 17-time national champions Nippon TV Tokyo Verdy Beleza, are among the approved WE League members, as are three-time title winners INAC Kobe Leonessa and Urawa Red Diamonds.
Also are included are women’s teams affiliated with professional men’s outfits Mynavi Sendai, JEF United Chiba, AC Parceiro Nagano and Albirex Niigata, with Sanfrecce Hiroshima and Omiya Adrija – who will absorb second-tier FC Jumonji Ventus - to launch new sides.
Dubai: Seven months after the previous season was abandoned, UAE stadiums erupt into life again as the 2020-21 UAE Pro League season kicks-off on Friday with the same 14 teams that contested the previous edition.
With 11 cities represented, two former AFC Player of the Year winners and six venues that hosted 2019 AFC Asian Cup matches and a collection of Emirati, Asian and international players on display, the-AFC.com looks at five story lines to follow in the 2020-21 UAE Pro League season.
2020 Chinese Super League Knockout Stage: Three stories to follow
Shanghai: The 2020 Chinese Super League will resume on Friday as the campaign moves into its Championship and Relegation Stages in the centralised venues of Suzhou and Dalian.
In a change from the regular season as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the CSL was split into two groups of eight with the teams playing each other twice. The top four earned a place in the Championship Stage while those in the bottom half were condemned to the Relegation Stage, both of which will played out from a two-legged quarter-final stage onwards.
Following the completion of the league phase, the likes of defending champions Guangzhou Evergrande, 2018 winners Shanghai SIPG and capital city giants Beijing FC are all gunning for the title, while Dalian Pro, Guangzhou R&F and Wuhan Zall are among the teams who will be desperate to avoid dropping into the second tier.
With the knockout round phase of the season almost upon us, the-AFC.com highlights three stories to follow.
Kuala Lumpur: The AFC Cup Bracket Challenge is firing through the goals and the years, and today the-AFC.com takes you back to the 2018 edition, where there were numerous memorable moments.
Indeed, records fell in 2018 as the AFC Cup's biggest crowd was recorded in Indonesia and Iraq's Air Force Club claimed an unprecedented third title in a row, while the goals flowed from start to finish.