Qatar announces completion of seventh tournament-ready venue for the FIFA World Cup 2022™
Doha: Stadium 974 has been officially unveiled and will host its first match on November 30 when the United Arab Emirates and Syria go head-to-head on the opening day of the FIFA Arab Cup™.
Stadium 974 is the seventh tournament venue to be completed by the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) and follows Khalifa International, Al Janoub, Education City, Ahmad Bin Ali, Al Bayt and Al Thumama in being declared ready to host matches during the FIFA World Cup 2022™, which will kick off on November 21 next year.
The venue – formerly known as Ras Abu Aboud – is made primarily from shipping containers and is located close to Doha Port, directly opposite the spectacular West Bay skyline. The innovative design means this is the first fully demountable stadium in FIFA World Cup™ history.
Draw date set for new-look FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ intercontinental playoffs
Zurich: The draw for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ intercontinental playoffs will be held in Zurich, Switzerland, on Friday, 26 November 2021.
The fixtures that will determine who plays who between the AFC, Concacaf, CONMEBOL and the OFC in the contest for the last two spots at football’s flagship global event will be decided after the European playoff draw, which will start at 17:00 CET. Both draws will be streamed live on FIFA.com for all territories.
2021 AFC Champions League Final – The Coach: Leonardo Jardim (Al Hilal SFC)
Riyadh: Leonardo Jardim hopes to become the first Portuguese manager to win the AFC Champions League as he leads Al Hilal SFC against Pohang Steelers in the final on Tuesday.
An honour first achieved in Europe by Arthur Jorge in 1987 with FC Porto and followed twice by Jose Mourinho since, in South America in 2019 by former Al Hilal boss Jorge Jesus with Flamengo and the following year by Abel Ferreira at Palmeiras, remains unprecedented in the world’s largest continent, offering Jardim the opportunity to create history for his nation.
2021 AFC Champions League Final – The Coach: Kim Gi-dong (Pohang Steelers)
Riyadh: Not many people have tasted success as both a player and a head coach for their beloved club, but Kim Gi-dong is on the verge of doing just that for Pohang Steelers.
Having been part of the 2009 AFC Champions League-winning squad and claiming several other titles with Pohang during his playing days, Kim has now led the side to the 2021 continental final.
Ahead of the grand finale against Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal SFC on November 23, the 49-year-old is aiming to become one of a select few to have won Asia’s biggest club prize as both a player and head coach.
2021 AFC Champions League Final: Al Hilal SFC v Pohang Steelers - The Form Guide
Riyadh: Football lovers around the continent were gripped by two outstanding 2021 AFC Champions League semi-finals in October, but – as the final between Saudi Arabia's Al Hilal SFC and Pohang Steelers of Korea Republic draws ever closer - how have the two sides fared since?
Key league fixtures and a crucial international window have come and gone since Tuesday’s finalists booked their place in the decider, and there’s much to ponder ahead of the biggest match on the Asian club football calendar.
Join the-AFC.com as we fill you in on all the key events and results since the semi-finals, and how each side has prepared for the final.
Al Jaber expects a stern Pohang test for Al Hilal, reflects on glory days
Riyadh: As Al Hilal SFC prepare for an AFC Champions League final against Pohang Steelers that would bestow upon the winner the undisputed title of Asia’s most successful club, a man who was central to the Saudi club’s finest era of success around the turn of the millennium remembers some of those moments of continental glory.
Very few names in Asian football are as synonymous with their clubs as Sami Al Jaber is with Al Hilal. A one-club man in his country and widely considered one of the greatest Saudi players of all time, Al Jaber has remained a fan favourite as he transitioned from rising starlet in the mid-1990s, to the nation’s bonafide talisman in the early 2000s to head coach and club president in the 2010s.
Fresh from helping Saudi Arabia to their third AFC Asian Cup title in the UAE in 1996, Al Jaber announced himself on the Asian club scene with a series of impressive performances including scoring the opener in the final as Al Hilal defeated Japan’s Nagoya Grampus Eight 3-1 to win the 1996-97 Asian Cup Winners Cup, setting up an Asian Super Cup clash with that year’s Asian Club Championship winners Pohang Steelers.
Ristić: It was an amazing feeling to be the best on the continent with Pohang Steelers in 2009
Kuala Lumpur: When Pohang Steelers take to the pitch against Al Hilal SFC in the 2021 AFC Champions League final in Riyadh on Tuesday, it will bring memories flooding back of the last time they reached the showpiece event, in 2009, when they defeated another Saudi Arabian side, Al Ittihad, to be crowned kings of Asia.
The ‘Class of 2009’, among them Macedonian Stevica Ristić, wrote their names into Asian footballing history as the Korean side became the first team to win the continent’s biggest club prize on three occasions.
Ristić, now 39, played a huge role in that success, scoring an extra-time winner in the quarter-final against Uzbekistan’s Bunyodkor and another goal in the semi-final victory over Qatar’s Umm Salal. In just 18 months with Pohang, he won the FA Cup, League Cup and AFC Champions League title.
Twelve years on, the-AFC.com caught up with Ristić to discuss that memorable 2009 campaign, the current Pohang side's chances, his views on former teammate Kim Gi-dong (now the head coach) and much more.