Belmadi looks towards future for Qatar young squad
SYDNEY: Qatar coach Djamel Belmadi chose to look towards the future after his young squad was eliminated from the AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015 on Thursday evening following a 1-0 loss at the hands of three-time champions Iran at Stadium Australia.
Qatar improved their performance following an opening round 4-1 loss against the UAE, but a second straight defeat left Belmadi hoping his team learned the lessons of their short sojourn at the continental championship.
“We tried to do everything, we did our best and I’m proud of the players with such a young team like this to play especially against Iran who have a lot of experience,” he said.
“It was, for me, a good game but unfortunately we didn’t take what we expected, the three points. We are out of the competition but we learned a lot and I hope we will have the benefits of this competition for the future.”
After winning the Gulf Cup in Saudi Arabia in November, the Qataris had travelled to Australia being touted as one of the favourites for the competition, but it is towards the future and the country’s hosting of the 2022 FIFA World Cup that coach Belmadi chose to look after their elimination.
“The experience is so important today,” he said. “Our average age was around 24 or 25 and most of our players didn’t play in a competition like the Asian Cup, it was their first competition.
“They can learn so many points, they can learn from the environment. The stadium was full of Iran fans and we’re not used to playing in this environment in our country.
“The intensity of the game and the specific situation in the game, we know now that any wrong pass, any wrong control can make a big difference in the game. We saw that today with a normal situation and we conceded the goal. As I always say to them, you can pay cash for any kind of mistake.
“This team has, if we work well with this squad, we can have a future. But there are many things we have to fix in our football set upto give chances to these players to improve.
“I believe even though we lost the game, we didn’t come here only to learn, but we also wanted to qualify to the second round and that’s not the case now. There is a lot of young players, they have quality and if we take care of them, we can have a better team, especially for the next qualification for the World Cup.”