The Kuwait national football team is the national team of Kuwait and is controlled by the Kuwait Football Association. Kuwait made one World Cup finals appearance, in 1982, managing one point in the group stages. In the Asian Cup, Kuwait reached the final in 1976 and won the tournament in 1980.
|Nickname(s)||Al-Azraq (The Blue) |
(The Blue Wave)
|Association||Kuwait Football Association|
|Sub-confederation||WAFF (West Asia)|
|Head coach||Thamer Enad|
|Most caps||Bader Al-Mutawa (188)|
|Top scorer||Bashar Abdullah (75)|
|Home stadium||Jaber Al-Ahmad International Stadium|
|Current||142 (23 December 2021)|
|Highest||24 (December 1998)|
|Lowest||189 (December 2017)|
| Kuwait 2–2 Libya |
(Morocco; 3 September 1961)
| Kuwait 20–0 Bhutan |
(Kuwait City, Kuwait; 14 February 2000)
| United Arab Republic 8–0 Kuwait |
(Morocco; 4 September 1961)
Portugal 8–0 Kuwait
(Leiria, Portugal; 19 November 2003)
|Appearances||1 (first in 1982)|
|Best result||Group Stage, (1982)|
|Appearances||10 (first in 1972)|
|Best result||Champions (1980)|
|Appearances||8 (first in 1963)|
|Best result||Third Place (1964, 1992, 1998)|
|Appearances||4 (first in 2010)|
|Best result||Champions (2010)|
|Arabian Gulf Cup|
|Appearances||24 (first in 1970)|
|Best result||Champions (1970, 1972, 1974, 1976, 1982, 1986, 1990, 1996, 1998, 2010)|
While Kuwait was one of Asia's major football force during 1970s to 2000s, the strength of the national team has started to fade slowly from 2010s, with Kuwait failing in two consecutive Asian Cups in 2011 and 2015, before being disqualified for 2019 edition. The team has also failed to reach any World Cup since 1982.
Kuwait's first international match was played in the 1961 Pan Arab Games against Libya which ended in a 2–2 draw. Kuwait's biggest loss was against the United Arab Republic when they lost 8–0 in the same tournament. Kuwait national football team has joined the World Cup in 1982 which was held in Spain. Kuwait was placed in the fourth group and got the fourth place after defeats to England and France and a respectable draw with Czechoslovakia. Kuwait has won the Asian Cup in 1980 which was held on its soil. Kuwait won the Final 3–0 against South Korea. Kuwait's historical highest FIFA ranking was the 24th place achieved in December 1998. Bader Al-Mutawa is the most capped player of the Kuwaiti team, and Bashar Abdullah is the top goalscorer in the history of the Kuwait national football team. Kuwait has won the Arabian Gulf Cup ten times, and is the most successful team in winning that competition. Kuwait's most historical manager was Luiz Felipe Scolari, who won the World Cup with Brazil, and was forced to leave the country after the 1990 invasion by Iraq. He led Kuwait to win the 1990 Gulf Cup beating Qatar in The Final.
Kuwait's biggest win was against Bhutan which ended in a thrilling 20–0 win, which was the biggest win until Australia won 31–0 against American Samoa in 2001. Kuwait's most successful years were between 1970 and 1990 which had players like Jasem Yaqoub, Faisal Al-Dakhil, and Saad Al-Houti.
Suspensions and demiseEdit
On 30 October 2007, Kuwait was suspended by FIFA from all participation in international football, on the grounds of governmental interference in the national football association. The ban lasted less than 2 weeks. On 24 October 2008, Kuwait was again suspended by FIFA from all participation in international football, because of its failure to hold the General Assembly elections by mid-October. FIFA provisionally lifted its suspension on the Kuwait Football Association (KFA) on 22 December 2008. By the time, while Kuwait remained a formidable force in the Gulf, it has also declined from Asia's relevance, unable to progress from the group stage of the 2011 and 2015 AFC Asian Cups, the team finished last with no point in both tournaments.
Once again, on 16 October 2015, Kuwait was suspended for the third time as FIFA did not recognize the new sports law in the country. Kuwait tried to get the suspension lifted at the 66th FIFA Congress but this was rejected and therefore from the earlier announcement on 27 April 2016, the hosting of the Gulf Cup tournament would also be moved to Qatar. The suspension was eventually lifted on 6 December 2017, after Kuwait's adoption of a new sports law. By this time, the team had fallen from the 139th place to the 189th place in the FIFA World Rankings due to its inactivity, which also caused the team to miss the qualifiers for the 2018 FIFA World Cup and the 2019 AFC Asian Cup.
On 7 December 2017, it was announced that Kuwait would host the 2017 Gulf Cup tournament after Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain, all withdrew when the tournament was previously set to be hosted by Qatar because of the Qatari diplomatic crisis, so it was moved to Kuwait to please all withdrawn parties to participate.
During the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification, Kuwait, which only started to rebuild its team following years of suspensions and instabilities, was drawn in group B alongside old foes Australia and Jordan, outside minnows Nepal and Chinese Taipei. Although Kuwait has better head-to-head records against Australia in major tournaments, suspensions and inactivities proved detrimental as the team lost 0–3 twice. Still, the qualifiers stood out as the best qualification for Kuwait since 2006, where Kuwait impressed by finishing second, though being unable to progress to the third round.
The Kuwait National Team has two home stadiums, and they are Jaber Al-Ahmad International Stadium and Al-Sadaqua Walsalam Stadium. Jaber Al-Ahmed International Stadium was built in 2009, and Kuwait celebrated winning the 20th Gulf Cup in that stadium; while Al-Sadaqua Walsalam Stadium is for the Kuwaiti club Kazma SC and was the Kuwait national team home. Following the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification-AFC Second Round, playing against the Philippines on 23 July 2011, this was the last time Mohammed Al-Hamed Stadium was the Kuwait Home stadium. On 16 May 2012, Kuwait played against the 2011–12 La Liga Champions Real Madrid in Al Kuwait Sports Club Stadium, the home ground of Kuwaiti club Kuwait SC, which Real Madrid won 2–0. Kuwait played their entire 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification-AFC Third Round in Al-Sadaqua Walsalam Stadium, beating the United Arab Emirates 2–1, drawing with South Korea 1–1 and losing to Lebanon 1–0. Before Jaber Al-Ahmed international stadium was finally built in 2009, Kuwait played in Mohammed Al-Hamed Stadium. When Kuwait hosted the 1980 Asian Cup, the tournament was hosted in Sabah Al-Salem Stadium, which has a capacity of 22,000 spectators and was the largest stadium in Kuwait at that time, and Kuwait won their first and only Asian Cup of all time in that stadium. When Kuwait hosted the 1974 Gulf Cup, it was the first time Kuwait had hosted a Gulf Cup competition, and all the matches were played in Al Kuwait Sports Club Stadium. Kuwait were champions of that competition for the first time in their history on home soil, and the third time in a row overall. In 1990, Kuwait hosted the 1990 Gulf Cup for the second time in their history and were crowned Champions of that competition. All of the games were played on Al-Sadaqua Walsalam Stadium. In the 2003 Gulf Cup, Kuwait hosted the competition for the third time, and once again all the matches were played in one stadium, the Al-Sadaqua Walsalam Stadium. However, Kuwait lost the competition. In the 2017 Gulf Cup, Kuwait hosted the tournament for the fourth time. All the matches were played in two stadiums, the Jaber Al-Ahmad International Stadium and Al Kuwait Sports Club Stadium. However, Kuwait were eliminated from the group stage after losing to Saudi Arabia and Oman and drawing with the United Arab Emirates.
All Kuwait matches are broadcast with full commentary on Kuwait TV Sport. These matches are live and exclusive. beIN Sports broadcast Kuwait matches live and exclusive. So broadcast exclusively on 3 different channels, which is not exclusive. Dubai Sports broadcast Kuwait matches only in special events like the Gulf Cup, Asian Cup and others.
- Kit providers
Kuwaits traditional colors are blue and white: The blue kits are their home ones and the whites for matches away. Kuwait's official kit provider is currently the sports company Errea. Kuwait wore the blue shirts in the 1980 AFC Asian Cup and the 1982 FIFA World Cup.
1. Only matches recognized by FIFA.
Iraq's rivalry with Kuwait was once considered as the Arab world's greatest football rivalry of all-time. The rivalry began in the mid 1970s and it was the decade from 1976 until 1986 that saw the golden age of football for arguably the finest teams the region has produced. Both nations imposed their complete domination on the Gulf region, and from the Gulf Cup's inception in 1970 until 1990, the tournament was won by only two teams; Kuwait seven times (1970, 1972, 1974, 1976, 1982, 1986, 1990), and despite Iraq's absence in the first three editions and withdrawal in two others, Iraq won it three times (1979, 1984, 1988).
Iraq and Kuwait took their increasingly bitter rivalry to a new level. On 11 June 1976, the two met in the semi-final of the Asian Cup in Tehran; Kuwait took the lead twice, Iraq came roaring back twice, And then, in the 10th minute of extra time, Kamel scored the winner for Kuwait. In 1979, the year Iraq clinched their first Gulf Cup and won over Kuwait 3–1, the two met in a qualifier for the Moscow 1980 Olympic Games, both managed to qualify to the Olympic Games, and both made it to the quarter-finals in Moscow. Iraq also qualified for the 1984 Games in Los Angeles and 1988 Games in Seoul. The 1982 Asian Games was won as well. Kuwait won the 1980 AFC Asian Cup, which they hosted. The nations also left their mark on the world stage. Kuwait qualified for the 1982 World Cup finals in Spain. Iraq matched that in Mexico 1986.
As Iraq and Kuwait traded Gulf titles in 1988 and 1990, few could have imagined that their rivalry on the football field would be replaced by an altogether more catastrophic one on the battlefield. Because of the Gulf war, football would never be the same again. Iraq and Kuwait were in complete avoidance and never met for more than a decade. Kuwait's Blues had a relative recovery of sorts, winning the Gulf Cup in 1996 and 1998, before securing their record 10th title in 2010. Iraqi football, because of Uday Hussein's reign as head of the football association, would take far longer to recover. When it did, it was in glorious fashion, the Lions of Mesopotamia winning the 2007 Asian Cup.
- Kuwait vs. Saudi Arabia
1. Only matches recognized by FIFA.
Results and fixturesEdit
Win Draw Loss
|Head Coach||Thamer Enad|
|Assistant Coach||Saqr Hassan|
|Assistant Coach||Ahmad Ghobash|
|Assistant Coach||Aktaporn Chalitaporn|
|Assistant Coach||Phayong Khunnaen|
|First Team Coach||Marzouq Al-Khelaifi|
|Goalkeeper Coach||Waleed Utbah|
|Fitness Coach||Rashid Khamis|
|Team Doctor||Saud Al-Qarni|
|Technical Director||Abdulaziz Hamada|
- Ali Othman and Majid Mohammed (1955)
- Ahmed Abu Taha (1957)
- Edmund Majowski (1957–1958)
- Ljubiša Broćić (1962)
- Saleh El Wahsh (1964)
- Gyula Grosics (1966)
- Dimitri Tadić (1966–1969)
- Taha El-Doukhi (1970)
- Ljubiša Broćić (1971–1973)
- Hassan Nassir (1973)
- Ljubiša Broćić (1973–1975)
- Mário Zagallo (1976–1978)
- Saleh Zakaria (1978)
- Carlos Alberto Parreira (1978–1982)
- Antônio Lopes (1983–1985)
- Malcolm Allison (1985–1986)
- Saleh Zakaria (1986)
- György Mezey (1986–1987)
- Antônio Vieira (1987–1988)
- George Armstrong (1988)
- Otacílio Gonçalves (1989–1990)
- Luiz Felipe Scolari (1990)
- Mohammed Karam (1990)
- Valmir Louruz (1990–1992)
- Paulo Campos (1992–1993)
- Gildo Rodrigues (1993)
- Jawad Maqseed (1993)
- Valeriy Lobanovskyi (1993–1996)
- Milan Máčala (1996–1999)
- Dušan Uhrin (1999–2001)
- Berti Vogts (2001–2002)
- Radojko Avramović (2002)
- Paulo César Carpegiani (2003–2004)
- Mohammed Ebrahim Hajeyah (2004)
- Slobodan Pavković (2005)
- Mohammed Ebrahim Hajeyah (2005)
- Mihai Stoichiță (2005–2006)
- Saleh Zakaria (2006–2007)
- Rodion Gačanin (2007–2008)
- Mohammed Ebrahim Hajeyah (2008–2009)
- Goran Tufegdžić (2009–2013)
- Jorvan Vieira (2013–2014)
- Nabil Maâloul (2014–2015)
- Boris Bunjak (2017)
- Radojko Avramović (2018)
- Romeo Jozak (2018–2019)
- Thamer Enad (2019–2020)
- Andres Carrasco (2020–2021)
- Thamer Enad (2021–)
- The following players were called up for the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification matches.
- Match dates: 3, 11 and 15 June 2021
- Opposition: Australia, Jordan and Chinese Taipei
- Caps and goals correct as of: 3 June 2021, after the match against Australia.
|No.||Pos.||Player||Date of birth (age)||Caps||Goals||Club|
|1||GK||Khaled Al-Rashidi||28 April 1987||21||0||Qadsia|
|12||GK||Saud Al-Jenaie||12 June 1994||2||0||Al-Tadhamon|
|22||GK||Sulaiman Abdulghafour||26 February 1991||25||0||Al-Arabi|
|2||DF||Sami Al-Sanea||9 January 1993||13||1||Kuwait SC|
|4||DF||Khalid El Ebrahim||28 August 1992||21||1||Qadsia|
|5||DF||Fahad Al Hajeri||10 November 1991||56||5||Kuwait SC|
|13||DF||Fahad Humood||3 October 1990||22||0||Kuwait SC|
|14||DF||Mahdi Dashti||26 October 2001||3||0||Al-Salmiya|
|15||DF||Hamad Al-Qallaf||4 December 1999||4||0||Al-Salmiya|
|3||MF||Ahmed Al-Dhefiri||9 January 1992||27||1||Qadsia|
|6||MF||Mohammad Al Huwaidi||29 January 1999||0||0||Al-Salmiya|
|8||MF||Fawaz Al-Otaibi||21 February 1997||4||0||Al-Salmiya|
|9||MF||Bandar Al Salamah||28 October 2002||3||0||Al-Arabi|
|11||MF||Fahad Al Ansari||25 February 1987||91||3||Qadsia|
|12||MF||Hamad Harbi||25 July 1992||9||0||Kazma|
|7||FW||Eid Al Rashidi||17 December 1999||5||1||Qadsia|
|10||FW||Shabaib Al-Khaldi||11 August 1998||7||2||Kazma|
|16||FW||Mobarak Al-Faneeni||21 January 2000||10||2||Al-Salmiya|
|17||FW||Bader Al-Mutawa||10 January 1985||186||56||Qadsia|
|19||FW||Ahmad Zanki||17 December 1995||6||1||Kuwait SC|
|20||FW||Yousef Nasser||9 October 1990||92||42||Kuwait SC|
The following players have also been called up to the Kuwait squad within the last 12 months.
|Pos.||Player||Date of birth (age)||Caps||Goals||Club||Latest call-up|
|GK||Hameed Al-Qallaf||10 August 1987||35||0||Kuwait SC|
|GK||Hussein Kankoune||16 April 1989||2||0||Kazma|
|DF||Amer Al-Fadhel||21 April 1988||66||0||Qadsia|
|DF||Ali Atiq||22 May 1996||1||0||Kazma|
|DF||Meshari Ghanam||28 August 1997||1||0||Kuwait SC|
|DF||Abdulaziz Naji||19 August 2001||1||0||Kuwait SC|
|DF||Dhari Said||2 May 1987||9||0||Qadsia|
|MF||Redha Abujabarah||27 October 1996||7||0||Kazma|
|MF||Abdullah Al Buraiki||12 August 1987||32||3||Kuwait SC|
|MF||Sultan Al Enezi||13 September 1992||26||0||Al-Arabi|
|MF||Talal Al Fadhel||11 August 1990||16||0||Kuwait SC|
|MF||Khaled Shaman||14 August 1996||0||0||Al-Nasr|
|MF||Faisal Zayid||9 October 1991||42||5||Kuwait SC|
|FW||Faisal Ajab Al-Azemi||23 January 1993||10||0||Al-Sahel|
- World Cup squads
- Asian Cup squads
- 1972 AFC Asian Cup squads – Kuwait
- 1976 AFC Asian Cup squads – Kuwait
- 1980 AFC Asian Cup squads – Kuwait
- 1984 AFC Asian Cup squads – Kuwait
- 1988 AFC Asian Cup squads – Kuwait
- 1996 AFC Asian Cup squads – Kuwait
- 2000 AFC Asian Cup squads – Kuwait
- 2004 AFC Asian Cup squads – Kuwait
- 2011 AFC Asian Cup squads – Kuwait
- 2015 AFC Asian Cup squads – Kuwait
- As of 15 November 2021 after match against Lithuania 
- Players in bold are still active with Kuwait.
FIFA World CupEdit
|FIFA World Cup record||FIFA World Cup qualification record|
|1930 to 1970||Did not enter||Did not enter|
|1974||Did not qualify||6||1||1||4||4||8|
|1986||Did not qualify||4||2||1||1||8||2|
|2018||Disqualified due to FIFA suspension ||8||3||1||4||12||10|
|2022||Did not qualify||8||4||2||2||19||7|
|Total||Best: Round 1||1/22||3||0||1||2||2||6||101||52||16||33||189||99|
AFC Asian CupEdit
|AFC Asian Cup record||AFC Asian Cup qualification record|
|1956||Not a AFC member||Not a AFC member|
|1976||Runners-up||2nd||4||3||0||1||6||3||Qualified by default|
|1980||Champions||1st||6||4||1||1||13||6||Qualified as hosts|
|1984||Third place||3rd||6||3||1||2||5||4||Qualified as defending champions|
|1992||Did not qualify||2||1||0||1||4||3|
|2007||Did not qualify||4||1||1||2||3||4|
|2019||Disqualified due to FIFA suspension||8||3||1||4||12||10|
|2023||To be determined||To be determined|
- *Denotes draws include knockout matches decided via penalty shoot-out.
- **Gold background colour indicates that the tournament was won. Red border colour indicates tournament was held on home soil.
|Olympic Games record|
|1900 to 1956||Did not enter|
|1960 to 1976||Did not qualify|
|1984 to 1988||Did not qualify|
- Football at the Summer Olympics has been an under-23 tournament since 1992.
- Football at the Asian Games has been an under-23 tournament since 2002.
|Asian Games record|
|1951||Did not enter|
|2002–present||See Kuwait national under-23 football team|
|West Asian Football Federation Championship record|
|2000||Did not participate|
Arabian Gulf CupEdit
|1988||Saudi Arabia||Fifth place||6||1||2||3||3||4|
|2002||Saudi Arabia||Fourth place||5||1||2||2||4||6|
|2014||Saudi Arabia||Group stage||3||1||1||1||3||7|
Pan Arab GamesEdit
|Pan Arab Games record|
|1953||Did not enter|
|1965||Did not enter|
|1999||Did not enter|
FIFA Arab CupEdit
|FIFA Arab Cup record|
|1985||Did not enter|
|2021||Did not qualified|
|Total||Best: Third place||30||10||6||14||47||43|
Cambodia 4-0 Kuwait The following table shows Kuwait's all-time international record,
Positive Record Neutral Record Negative Record
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||1||0||0||1||0||1||-1|
Cambodia 4-0 Kuwait
|Trinidad and Tobago||1||0||1||0||1||1||0|
|United Arab Emirates||43||19||8||16||77||49||+28|
- Winners (10): 1970, 1972, 1974, 1976, 1982, 1986, 1990, 1996, 1998, 2010
- Runners-up (1): 1979
- Third-Place (1): 2013, 2002
- Winners (1): 2002
- Third-Place (1): 1997
- Winners (1): 2010
- Fourth-Place (1): 2014
* The 1992 edition organised as part of the Pan Arab Games, and also counted as Arab Cup.
- Winners (1): 2011
- Runners-up (1): 1973
- "FIFA Century Club des Cent del la FIFA Club de los Cien de la FIFA" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on September 5, 2015.
- "The FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking". FIFA. 23 December 2021. Retrieved 23 December 2021.
- Elo rankings change compared to one year ago. "World Football Elo Ratings". eloratings.net. 19 January 2022. Retrieved 19 January 2022.
- "Asia's greatest national teams: Kuwait (1980s) | Football News | Asian Qualifiers 2022". the-AFC. Retrieved 2020-06-09.
- "FIFA suspends Kuwait Football Federation". London: Guardian.co.uk. Archived from the original on 7 May 2020. Retrieved 30 October 2007.
- "FIFA lifts suspension on Kuwait". FIFA. Archived from the original on November 11, 2007. Retrieved 9 November 2007.
- "FIFA suspends Kuwait Football Federation". The-AFC.com. Archived from the original on 26 October 2008. Retrieved 25 October 2008.
- "FIFA provisionally lifted its suspension on the Kuwait Football Association (KFA)". The-AFC.com. Archived from the original on 25 December 2008. Retrieved 22 December 2008.
- "Suspension of the Kuwait Football Association". FIFA. Archived from the original on January 9, 2016. Retrieved 16 October 2015.
- "FIFA Congress drives football forward, first female secretary general appointed". FIFA. Archived from the original on May 16, 2016. Retrieved 14 May 2016.
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- "The FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking - November 2017". FIFA.com. Archived from the original on November 25, 2017. Retrieved 6 December 2017.
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- "World Football Elo Ratings". www.eloratings.net. Retrieved 2021-08-29.
- Storied Gulf Cup rivalry between Iraq and Kuwait survives war
- "Storied Gulf Cup rivalry between Iraq and Kuwait survives war". The National. Retrieved 2021-08-29.
- Mamrud, Roberto. "Kuwait - Record International Players". RSSSF.
- "Kuwait sanctioned after unplayed FIFA World Cup™ qualifier". FIFA. 13 January 2016. Archived from the original on January 14, 2016. Retrieved 13 January 2016.
- "FIFA sanctions several football associations after discriminatory chants by fans" (PDF). FIFA. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 January 2016. Retrieved 13 January 2016.
- "World Football Elo Ratings: Kuwait". Eloratings.net. 5 January 2018. Retrieved 10 September 2018.