Qatar Football AssociationNational Teams | U-23
08.01.2018 15:55 in :

CHANGZHOU: Qatar head coach Felix Sanchez is confident his side will play for a win when his team take on Uzbekistan in the opening clash of the AFC U23 Championship on Tuesday.

Qatar finished in fourth place at the last AFC U23 Championship in Doha. Sanchez feels his team has gained in experience over the course of last two years.

After the Uzbekistan clash on Tuesday in the 16-team event, Qatar take on Oman on January 12 followed by a game against the hosts on the 15th of this month.

“We expect the team to perform well at this competition, indeed there are some 10 players who played in Doha two years ago,” Sanchez said on Monday.

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“Those players have, of course, gained more experience in the time that has passed since and we hope that can make a difference and make this competition a more successful one for us,” the Spaniard added.

Sanchez is in charge of the Qatar U23 side for the second time in a row having managed the side two years ago when Al Annabi finished fourth at the competition.

Prior to that, the Spaniard’s finest moment in the Gulf nation would have been leading his young charges to the 2014 AFC U-19 Championship title in Myanmar, Qatar’s first AFC title.

Sanchez’s opposite number, Uzbekistan head coach Ravshan Khaydarov, whilst looking forward to the meeting with Qatar, is acutely aware of the quality of the opponents Uzbekistan are set to face.

“This is a tough group, but we are looking forward to the challenge,” Khaydarov said.

“We have prepared well, but have analysed all the teams – including Qatar – and believe they all have a chance of progressing (to the quarter-finals). This is football. Anything can happen,” he added.

Prior to leaving for China, Sanchez announced a strong Qatar squad for the AFC U-23 Asian Cup. The list also includes a number of players who appeared in the recently-concluded Gulf Cup in Kuwait.

Reigning AFC U23 champions Japan are scheduled to begin their title defence against competition debutants Palestine on Wednesday.

Qatar squad: Mohammed Bakari, Shahab Alaishi, Bassam Al Rawi, Almoez Ali, Abdullah Al Ahraq, Yusuf Farhat, Abdulrehman Fehmi, Khalid Mohammed, Salem Alhajri, Ahmed Suhail, Hashim Ali, Mashal Al Shammari, Yusuf Hassan, Salah Al Yahiri, Abdulrashid Omaro, Umar Al Mamadi, Asim Madibo, Akram Afif, Ahmed Moin, Khalid Muneer, Sultan Albareek, Mashal Barshim, Tamim Al Maheez, Nasser Al Nasser and Tariq Suleiman.

Coach: Felix Sanchez

Opening group fixtures

Group A – January 9: China PR v Oman; Qatar v Uzbekistan
Group B – January 10: DPR Korea v Thailand; Japan v Palestine
Group C – January 10: Iraq v Malaysia; Jordan v Saudi Arabia
Group D – January 11: Australia v Syria; Korea Republic v Vietnam