Kuwaiti Premier League - The Magical 70s - Dream Teams & Rivalries

Dream Teams & Rivalries

The 1970s marked an era of more intense rivalries in the league. With Al-Arabi facing turbulent times ahead and failing to win a single league trophy during that decade, except season 1979/1980 where they finished first, it offered other teams a chance to shine as league leaders for many years to come.

During the course of all 10 seasons, the trophy tallies were shared as follows:

The 1970s also marked the beginning of the end to Al Arabi's 1960s dominance. Additionally, it set the scene for the rise and fall of Al-Qadsiya's "dream team", which had legendary national football team players such as Jassem Al Yaqoub, Hammad Bu Hammad, Faisal Al Dakheel, etc. Al-Kuwait also had its own fair share of greats including Abdulaziz Al-Anberi and Ahmed Al-Tarabulsi. These players were often regarded as national team regular starlets, and were labeled as Kuwait's "golden generation" of footballers who managed to appear in the 1976 Asian Cup final, only losing by a goal to Iran. Most national football team players came from Al-Qadsiya, and much of Kuwaits international success in the early 1980s came from their experience, including winning the 1980 Asian Cup final (defeating Korea 3-0), qualifying to the 1980 Summer Olympics and 1982 FIFA World Cup in Spain. This, and countless of other Gulf Cup trophies, was also reflected in the club level with Al-Qadsiya and Al-Kuwait dominating the ranks of football at that time.

Although there weren't as many perfect seasons won in the 1970s by either sides, with exception to season 1975/76 where Al-Qadsiya stayed undefeated, the 1970s were generally regarded as more illustruous than the 1960s. Despite neither Al-Kuwait or Al-Qadsiya being able to break Al Arabi's number of perfect seasons, the 1970s marked the beginning of total football, a football technique many Al-Qadsiya players of the "golden" Kuwaiti generation loved to use, and perhaps was the reason behind their success. Football was played more attractively, and was generally more dynamic and attack-oriented compared to Al-Arabi's aggressive style of play. It was labeled by many as 'beautiful' or 'sexy' football, as modern-day football specialists liken it to Arsenal's approach in the English Premier League (demonstrated by Arsene Wenger).

The 1970s also saw the development of most sporting facilities in the country. Each of the big 3 sporting clubs (Al-Arabi, Al-Kuwait and Al-Qadsiya) had undergone major plans to build their own fenced sports cities, with different multi-use outdoor and indoor stadiums, including club headquarters and youth academies & training centres. Grass pitches were introduced to all sporting club stadiums, under accordance of new amendments to FIFA rules which stated that sand pitches were no longer permissible and were prohibited from being used.

Al-Qadsiya, with credit to their attacking play, have also scored more goals per season than any other team in the Kuwaiti league during the 1970s, with exception to the 1979/1980 season. The team's attacking force was the reason behind its success, as opposed to Al-Kuwait who relied largely on their experienced goalkeeper Ahmad Al-Tarabulsi from keeping the ball going into the net.

During the 1970s, Al-Arabi saw many new faces come and go. The coaching staff was replaced many times and without success. Finally in 1978, the club was introduced with Dave Mackay. Dave Mackay was little known at that time, but he was soon proved vital for the re-transformation of Al-Arabi into a major football powerhouse in the country and region again. His decade of success with Al-Arabi was only about to unravel.

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