Qatar heading in the right direction: Coach Sanchez
DOHA: Coach Felix Sanchez believes Qatar’s heartbreaking 2-1 defeat by
Iraq’s in the third-place playoff at the AFC U23 Championship can
provide a building block for the future despite the tournament hosts
missing out on qualification for the Olympic Games.
Ahmed Alaa’s 27th minute goal, his sixth of the campaign, looked to
have been enough to send Qatar through to Rio de Janeiro only for
Mohanad Abdulraheem to equalise for Shahad Abdulghani’s Iraq with four
minutes of normal time remaining.
And with substitute Aymen Hussein heading home four minutes into the
second period of extra-time, Qatar missed out on a third appearance at
the Olympic Games and first since 1992.
“I think the players put all their effort into all to the tournament,
but unfortunately we couldn’t get our target. I think, in general,
they made one step forward but we need to learn from our mistakes,”
said Sanchez, who guided Qatar to victory at the 2014 AFC U-19
“Hopefully in the future with experience in this tournament in the
things we didn’t do well, I think there were good moments in all the
games, and we’ll try to do better in the future.
“I think that in the first half we had many chances, we couldn’t score
the second goal and it wasn’t like that in the second half. They were
more direct because they have physically strong players, it’s easy to
talk about substitutes but all the players did good work. We were very
happy with the 23 who were here.
“Today maybe it’s hard to see positive things, but I think we will
have some positives, and some negatives. We are the youngest team in
the tournament and it makes it more difficult to reach the later
stages,” added Sanchez.
“We can congratulate all of our opponents, but we don’t feel we were
weaker or worse than them. We played to win, but the small details
make the difference and we will try to learn from that.”
Qatar have already secured qualification for the 2019 AFC Asian Cup
and final round of qualifiers for the 2018 FIFA World Cup with a
number of Sanchez’s side having featured under national team coach
Jose Daniel Carreno.
“I think the coach of the first team had the opportunity to see a lot
of young players during the last three weeks during the tournament and
any player he needs will be happy to join,” said Sanchez.