Belmadi’s Qatar ready for Asian Cup campaign
CANBERRA: Just into his first year of coaching Qatar, Djamel Belmadi
has left an indelible mark on the fortunes of the national side.
Last March, Belmadi was appointed Qatar coach replacing Fahad Thani
who managed the side for a little over a year.
Qatar are unbeaten in their 10 matches having won the Gulf Cup title
in November last year,
A strict disciplinarian, Belmadi helped Qatar;s junior string win the
WAFF Championship last January in Doha.
The Algerian helped Lekhwiya – a new entry into Qatar Stars League
(QSL) – win two back-to-back titles.
Belmadi successfully negotiated the first hurdle – winning the Gulf
Cup – and now switches his attention to doing well at the Asian Cup
which starts on January 9.
Qatar’s best results in the Asian Cup are a couple of quarterfinal
berth with the last one coming at 2011 in Doha.
In an interview with the Asian Football Confederation (AFC website,
Belmadi said that his players will face the toughest challenge during
the Asia Cup that ends on January 31.
He said: “As you know, we have big ambitions and this tournament is a
new step in our long-term plans”.
He added that Japan, Australia and South Korea would be deemed
favourites to win the Asian Cup.
“It does not mean we don’t have a chance. Each Asian Cup is different
and who knows, we could go all the way,” he said.
He explained: “I do not want to put a limit to our ambitions, Qatar
qualified for the quarterfinals of the last edition of the Asia Cup,
and everyone is expected to achieve the same thing.”