QATAR’S powerhouses Al Rayyan and Al Arabi will renew their rivalry at the 36th GCC Clubs Championship, which begins at the Ali bin Hamad Al Attiyah Arena on Wednesday.
Bahrain's Al Ahli, Dar Kulaib, The UAE's Al Ain, Saudi Arabia's Al Hilal and Oman's Al Salam are the other teams in the championship which will be fought on a round-robin format.
Rayyan, who had defeated Arabi in straight sets in last year’s final held in Sohar, Oman, will be keen to defend the title at the event, which ends on March 17.
Rayyan have won the GCC title three times (2011, 2015, 2016), with Arabi triumphing once (2010).
The two big clubs have fought many close battles, including in Qatar League’s penultimate round recently, when Rayyan edged Arabi in a five-set thriller at the Qatar Sports Club.
The Qatar Volleyball Association had last hosted the GCC Championship in 2011, when Rayyan triumphed by beating Bahrain’s formidable club Al Muharraq in the final.
Muharraq, who are not in the fray this time, are the most successful club with 10 titles to their credit. They last won it in 2012.