High intensity from team mates delights Afif
CHANGZHOU: High intensity levels from his team mates have delighted Qatar star Akram Afif ahead of Al Anabi’s semi-final clash at the AFC U-23 Asian Cup.
On Friday, Ali struck twice (32 and 34) while team mate Hashim Ali (53) scored the third goal as Qatar beat Palestine 3-2 to seal their semi-finals berth.
“My team mates were so keen to do well in the match. Their heart in was giving their best. We faced a strong team in Palestine but the Qatar players made sure we emerged victors,” Afif said after a training session on Monday.
“Qatar have performed well in this tournament. The complete support of the technical staff was evident in the way we played in all of our matches. There was high intensity from our side in the entire match against Palestine also,” the 21-year-old added.
“I hope we continue in the same way. Entire Qatar would be watching us on Tuesday,” he said.
Fellow defender Sultan Al Brake, also 21, said on Saturday: “Our first target has been met. It feels great to have qualified for their semi-finals. The effort from our players was there for everybody to see.”
He added: “Al Anabi has won against one of the stronger teams in the championship. We played a friendly against them in Doha and they had done extremely well against us then. It is important that we go all the way.”
Captain Ahmed Moein said on Saturday: “The team has done well as a unit. Thank God for our win yesterday (Friday). It was a great effort. I must say I am a little disappointed to see our performance in the last few minutes of the match. We must stay focused.”
Defender Tarek Salman, 20, said after on Saturday: “The game was not easy at all especially as we faced a strong opponent who were at the top of their game. However, we managed to overcome the challenges we faced and we achieved our first goal from this tournament.”
He added: “Al Anabi is moving step by step towards the title. The past four matches are history. Now we are looking at the next stage of the tournament. It will be another difficult game for all the players. We are ready.”
The 16-team tournament ends on January 27.