Al Gharafa’s highlights in 2023-2024 Expo Stars League

Al Gharafa’s highlights in 2023-2024 Expo Stars League


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.


There is no doubt that the good results achieved by Al Gharafa in the Expo Stars League this season were not a surprise, to those who follow football matters, in view of the stability provided by the team management, which resulted in a strong team capable of competing, and proving its capabilities and worth among top teams.

Competition with Al Sadd and Al Rayyan

Al Gharafa will strive to build on their achievements in the next season (2024-2025), given the strong competition they had with champions Al Sadd and runners-up Al Rayyan.

Second-best attack line

Al Gharafa collected 44 points from 22 matches, winning 13, drawing five and losing four to finish in fourth position. They were the team that lost the least number of matches (four), behind Al Sadd (three).

The Cheetahs scored 53 goals to be the team with the second-best attack line after Al Sadd (65 goals) and conceded 36 goals.

Al Gharafa had a good season compared to 2022-2023 when they finished sixth with 32 points.

Technical stability with Martins

It was clear from the beginning that the club management was keen to provide the team with technical stability as Portuguese coach Pedro Martins, who took over the side in November, 2022, replacing Italian Andrea Stramaccioni, continued.

Martins is one of the distinguished coaches who has been at the helm of some European teams and achieved success with them. He has coached Portuguese teams, such as Maritimo, Rio Ave and Vitoria Guimaraes.

He moved to Al Gharafa from Greek club Olympiacos, with whom he won three league titles and the Greek Cup.

Strengthening the ranks

The Al Gharafa management strengthened the ranks by signing a number of prominent players at the beginning of the season, most notably Tunisian Ferjani Sassi, Ivorian Yohan Boli, Brazilian Lyanco, Senegalese Seydou Sano and Uruguayan Fabricio Diaz in addition to goalkeeper Khalifa Abubackar from Umm Salal.

Starting with exciting draw against Qatar SC

Al Gharafa started off with a thrilling 4-4 draw against Qatar SC in Week 1, but they got to the winning ways with a 2-0 win over Al Markhiya in Week 2 and topped the standings after Week 9 and 10to finish the first leg with 24 points.

Productive break

Al Gharafa succeeded in taking advantage of the Asian Cup 2023 Qatar break by engaging in a technical and physical training programme, besides playing friendly matches and having a camp at a hotel from February 5 to 11, 2024, in order to bring the players to full readiness.

Al Gharafa played six friendlies. They lost 0-1 to Al Khor, beat Al Sailiya 3-2, lost 1-2 to Al Shamal, played out a 2-2 draw with Al Arabi, lost 1-2 to Al Hilal of Saudi Arabia and beat Umm Salal 3-0.

Brazilian defender Lyanco was registered again after recovering from injury as replacement for Boli, who moved to Qatar SC.

League returns

The league championship returned with Week 14 action when Al Gharafa lost 1-2 to Al Ahli. They then beat Al Duhail 4-1 en route to some good performances and their journey ended with a 0-1 loss to Al Shamal in the final round. After Al Sadd annexed the title in Week 21 following their victory over Al Shamal, there was competition between Al Rayyan and Al Gharafa for the second place, and Al Rayyan came second after their win over Al Sadd in Week 22.

Yacine Brahimi, the team’s top scorer

A number of Al Gharafa players shone, including Algerian star Yacine Brahimi, the team’s top scorer in the league this season with 21 goals and the second-best behind Al Sadd star Akram Afif (26 goals), Tunisian star Ferjani Sassi, Algerian Farid Boulaya, Qatar national team forward Ahmed Alaaeldin, Ahmed Al Janahi, Homam Al Ameen, Fabricio Diaz, Seydou Sano, Nasser Al Ahraq, Amro Seraj and Othman Al Yahri.