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The 2023-2024 season Expo Stars League witnessed challenges and difficulties, and competition between the teams lasted till the final round.

It is certain that the teams will seek to build on their positives and address areas for improvement in order to be better in the new season (2024-2025).

In successive episodes, we review each team’s performance in the 2023-2024 Expo Stars League.


Al Markhiya finished the 2023-2024 season Expo Stars League in 11th place with 18 points, winning five matches, drawing three and losing 14, making it the team with most defeats along with Muaither. Al Markhiya scored 20 times to be the team with least number of goals and conceded 50 goals.

Based on the final ranking, Al Markhiya played the Play-Off match against Second Division runners-up Al Shahaniya and lost 1-3 to be relegated to the second tier in 2024-2025, after two seasons in the top flight.

In general, the team’s performance and level as well as its ranking declined this season compared to what they achieved last season when they finished seventh with 24 points.

Coaches Hudson and Bougherra

In June, 2023, well ahead of the new season, Al Markhiya announced the hiring of English coach Anthony Patrick Hudson, who worked with his assistants during the preparation period and pre-season camp.

After five rounds in the league championship and due to decline in the team’s performance and level, the club announced the appointment of Algerian Madjid Bougherra as the new coach, succeeding Hudson who was made a technical advisor to the club management.

Strengthening the ranks

Al Markhiya strengthened their ranks at the start of season with a number of players with the aim of providing a strong level and building on their good performance in the 2022-2023 season. The most prominent of them were Gambian striker Yusupha Njie, French defender Moohamedou Naby Sarr, Portuguese midfielder Joao Teixeira, Moayed Hassan, Tamim Al Muhaza, Abdulaziz Metwali and Mohammed Al Abbasi among others.

Losing start

Al Markhiya’s season began with a loss to Al Rayyan in Week 1. That was followed by a series of losses. Hudson was relieved of his duties and Bougherra took over.

First victory

Al Markhiya scored their first victory in Week 6 when they defeated Al Shamal 2-1. But they lost to 0-4 to Qatar SC in Week 7 and finished the first leg with only four points.

Contracts during winter break

During the AFC Asian Cup 2023 break and as part of Al Markhiya management’s efforts to improve the level and performance of the team, a number of players were signed during the winter transfers, most notably Iraqi international midfielder Bashar Resan from Qatar SC and Portuguese defender Ruben Semedo from Al Duhail in addition to Mohammed Khaled Al Nuaimi, Abdullah Haroun and Abdulrahman Mohammed from Al Duhail, and goalkeeper Omar Barry.

As part of preparations for the resumption of matches in the league’s second leg, the team played friendlies against Al Arabi, Armenia’s FC Noah team and Al Khor.

Return of competitions

The league resumed with Week 14 action, where Al Markhiya lost to Muaither.

However, Al Markhiya appeared better in the second leg and got some good results compared to the first leg. They obtained 14 more points from four wins and two draws, including the notable victories against Al Wakrah, Al Gharafa and Al Arabi.

Losing in Play-Off

Al Markhiya finished 11th and played the Play-Off against Al Shahaniya, runners-up in Second Division, at the Al Thumama Stadium and lost by a 1-3 margin.

Njie is the team’s top scorer

Njie was the team’s top scorer with six goals. He presented good levels and a distinguished performance in many matches and is followed by Moroccan Driss Fettouhi with four goals.


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Published on: 28/05/2024


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