This now-annual gathering in Qatar is possibly one of the richest prizes in club handball but, like a lot of comparable ‘world club’ events in other sports, it has the feeling of not quite being a proper competition. THW Kiel won it in 2011 but did not include it when talking about their all-conquering 2011/12 trophy-laden season.
That said, for the clubs set to tilt at Kiel and Athletico Madrid there will be little room for such doubts. As we have seen on this site, Sydney University may be amateurs but they are taking it very seriously indeed. Not as seriously as Al-Sadd, one of the two Qatari teams playing in Doha this week, who have signed on loan eight players from Montpellier to see them through the tournament. That’s French champions Montpellier. You might have thought it would have been easier to invite the actual club over instead.
The other participants this year are Mudhar of Saudi Arabia, Brazil’s Sao Bernardo, Al-Zamalek of Egypt and Qatari wild-card Al-Jeish.
But, anyway, leaving aside any doubts about validity Handball Views will go with the flow and presume that the champions will come from Europe once more, as they have in each of the tournaments since the event became annual in 2010. We’ll be slightly adventurous in predicting glory for the Spanish rather than the German Zebras.
The tournament starts on 27 August with group matches (Sydney University playing Mudhar is up first) with the championship final on 1 September.