Chronicle of the Middle East and North Africa


The Kuwait football team

Kuwait holds no major sports events. No tennis stars play there, there is no sponsorship of major football clubs, no Formula 1 racing championships, and no internationally significant horse races.

Kuwait has, however, participated in twelve Olympic Games and three times has taken home bronze medals, in 1992 in Barcelona in taekwondo and in 2000 in Sydney and 2012 in London in double trap-shooting, won both times by Fehaid al-Deehani. Kuwait’s national football team has also had some success. Nicknamed ‘The Blue’, they made it to the World Cup finals in 1982, managing a draw with Czechoslovakia but losing to England and France. They were even more successful in the competition for the Asian Cup, reaching the finals in 1976 and taking home the winner’s trophy in 1980. Kuwait’s 20–0 win over Bhutan in 2000 was, at the time, the most lopsided win ever in international football. In the same year, Kuwait’s football team took part in the Sydney Olympic Games. In 2007 Kuwait was suspended by FIFA from all participation in international football, on the grounds of governmental interference in the national football association.

In basketball, another popular sport, the national team has participated eleven times in the FIBA Asian Championship but has brought home no medals. Cricket, handball, and rugby are also popular.