QNB Stars League is Qatar’s premier football league.
Al Markhiya’s team coach Abdullah Mubarak said team is well-prepared to face the 16-time champions.
All 12 teams in the league, including Al Markhiya, have been conditioning in rigorous overseas training camps. In addition, friendly matches were played in Doha last month as part of the preparations for the start of the season.
Al Saad has dominated the league with a record 49-match unbeaten streak at the QSL.
However, the champions are predicted to have a challenging season due to the absence of their international stars.
Forward Hassan Al Haydos, Akram Afif, Abdelkarim Al Hasan and Saad Al Sheeb will not be playing in the tournament as they prepare for the upcoming World Cup with the Qatar national team.
Al Sadd coach Juan Manuel Lillo commented on the absence by saying it is a chance for other players to showcase their leadership.
“We do not have a lot of players, but we have the opportunity to give time to compete to the players that are there. They are with us now and they have all done well in the training camp during the pre-season phase,” said Juanma.
The QNB Stars League will give fans a closer look at the World Cup as matches will be played at World Cup stadiums such as Al Thumama Stadium, Education City Stadium, and Lusail Stadium.
The Al Rihla football will also mark its first appearance as it will be the official ball for the games before appearing at the World Cup in November.