After beating Swindon Supermarine and Hereford United so far this pre-season Swindon Town face what will promise to be a far tougher test against Qatari outfit Al-Sadd Sports Club
Al-Sadd are arguably the most celebrated football club in Qatar thanks to a dominant spell in the 80’s. However, after an unsuccessful 1990’s they’ve since won the Qatari League three times in the last decade but have fallen behind Al-Gharrafa in recent years with like likes of Lyon legend Juninho Pernambucano helping Al-Sadd’s rivals pip them to the post last season.
The Doha based club are coached by Romanian Cosmin Olăroiu who guided Steaua Bucharest to the league and cup double in 2006 and has more recently been manager of Saudi Arabia outfit Al-Hilal.
Al-SADD SELECTED PLAYERS
29 year old goalkeeper who has over 70 full caps for Qatar. Saqr started his career with Al Khor before linking up with Al-Sadd in 2003.
Saad Al Sheeb
Currently understudy to Saqr, the 20 year old has much promise and is considered to be the future number one of the national team.
Algerian international who played against England during the World Cup Finals.
Belhadj was born in Saint-Claude in France and represented France and youth level started his career with Lens. He moved to Gueugnon without making an appearance for Lens. Moves to Sedan, Lyon and a return to Lens followed before a loan move to Portsmouth in 2008/09 which resulted in a permanent switch.
Belhadj couldn’t help prevent Pompey from getting relegated from the Premier League but did help them reach the 2010 F.A. Cup Final where they lost to Chelsea.
The left sided player was a key member of the Algeria squad that reached the World Cup Finals.
A regular member of the Oman national team with over 80 caps to his name so far.
The 29 year old started his career with his hometown Dhofar Club before switching to Kazma in 2003 which led to a move to Al-Wahda a year later.
Al-Noobi joined Al-Sadd in 2005.
Yemen born Al-Hamad has been with Al-Sadd since he was a child and made his first team debut in 2003 as a teenager.
Al-Hamad has represented the Qatar national team.
20 year old defender and early graduate of the Qatar based ASPIRE Academy for Sports Excellence. He has played for Qatar and scored against Kuwait in a friendly in 2009.
Kuwait born midfielder who started his career with Al-Sadd. A move to Saudi Arabia with Al-Shabab followed in 2009 but soon returned to Al-Sadd.
Al-Bloushi is a regular for the Qatar national team with over 60 full caps to his name.
Abdul Kader Keïta
Embarking on his second spell with Al-Sadd, Keïta recently re-joined the club from Turkish giants Galatasaray.
The 28 year old started his career with Africa Sports before moving on to Étoile du Sahel and Al Ain before his first stint with ‘Al-Zaeem’ between 2002 and 2005.
His successful spell at Al-Sadd earned his a move to France with Lille followed and then a transfer to Lyon where he won the French double during the 2007/08 season. In 2009 he joined Galatasaray.
A Côte d’Ivoire international who represented his nation at the 2006 and 2010 FIFA World Cup Finals. However, he’ll probably be best remembered for going to the floor in faux-agony to earn Brazilian superstar Kaká a second yellow card.
Ghana international Owusu-Abeyie also spent time at the World Cup. He started his career as a youngster with Ajax in The Netherlands, the country of his birth and who he would later play for their under-21 national team before switching nations.
A move to Arsenal followed 2002 and signed professional forms a year later. Games were hard to come by at Highbury which prompted a move to Russia with Spartak Moscow in 2006.
Owusu-Abeyie spent most of his time out on loan with Celta Vigo, Birmingham City, Cardiff City and Portsmouth before completing a permanent switch to Al-Sadd in March 2010.
Leandro Montera da Silva
A native of São Paulo, Leandro started his football education as a junior with Corinthians and Nacional in his hometown but failed to make the grade.
Leandro moved to Japan in 2005 joining Omiya Ardija before joined Montedio Yamagata where he scored 27 goals in 42 games for Montedio.
This earned him the right to having another go at establishing himself in Brazil with Rio Branco but failed again to make an appearance and swiftly ventured to Japan once more with Vissel Kobe.
Leandro’s second stint in Japan was impressive with 27 goals in 56 appearances before moving to Gamba Osaka in 2009 where he scored 22 goals in only 30 outings.
Al-Sadd paid an estimated 7 million Euros to secure the services of Leandro and has averaged a goal a game since arriving in Qatar.
22 year old forward who already has 100 appearances for Al-Sadd to his name and close to 50 caps for the Qatari national team.
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