Qatar squad is well prepared for Gulf Cup: Team manager
DOHA: Qatar squad is well prepared for the Gulf Cup that will feature
the region’s top teams in Saudi Arabia next week, team manager Farid
Mahboob said in an interview.
Here are excerpts from the interview:
How do you see the readiness of the Qatar side ahead of the
Gulf Cup opener?
The team is well prepared. We have played some serious
football recently. And the games we have played have helped the
players gain in confidence. The players have sharpened their technical
skills too. We have achieved the goals we set to achieve before the
long series of friendlies that started in September.
What are your views ahead of the Saudi clash?
The opening game of the tournament is very important to both
sides. It is not only important for the home team but for us too.
Saudi Arabia will be playing on home soul so the game will be tough.
How have you prepared your team to tackle the pressure from
the home fans of the Saudi side?
I think the Qatar side knows how to tackle such pressure
situations. Coach Djamel Belmadi has done wonders with the players on
how not to get overworked in tough situations. I think Qatar players
know the meaning of creating psychological pressure on the opponents.
Can you talk about the absence of Sebastian Soria from the squad?
The first point is that Sebastian has not been excluded from
the squad. The player has excused himself and it is up to the player
to speak about the reasons (for his absence). He is an influential
players and his absence can impact our attacks. However, we are
confident that coach Belmadi has things sorted out to tackle his
What about the absence Khalfan Ibrahim?
His injury has come at a bad time since we needed him but we
have to deal with this scenario. His absence has affected our
preparations. He is a solid player. He makes things happen on the
pitch. He is an excellent player but he needs at least three weeks to
recover so that means he is out of Gulf Cup.
Do you think Boualem’s return is a pleasant surprise?
It (his selection) is not a surprise because he has worked
hard to get selected. He has prepared well. In the absence of Khalfan
Ibrahim and Sebastian Soria, he he will key for us. He has his work
What is the main reason for the return of Abdul Qadir?
A fluent player like him cannot be ignored. He did well for
Umm Salal. Our coach has made it clear that a player must perform for
his club to be considered for national selection. In this event Abdul
Qadir was an easy selection.
Why do some people feel that there is a gap between the
media and Djamel Belmadi?
I do not agree about the so-called gap between the media and
the coach. He is a coach who focuses on his work. He does not do
regular media interviews. He does it only when it is necessary. We
appreciate his philosophy. There is a media coordinator and it works
well for us (Qatar Football Association).
Would it be fair to say that your focus is more on the Asian
Cup than the Gulf Cup?
These two are separate events but yes, they are very important
to us. Both events demand equal attention from all our stakeholders.
We deal with things objectively. We look at events that concern us.
We gather that you said ‘that the real test for Al Annabi
would be in Asian Cup .. what’s your response?
Look, the Asian Cup is clearly a more tougher event since
Asia’s best sides feature in the event.The Asian Cup demands greater
attention and focus. However, doing well in the Gulf Cup is just as
important for us.
Do you agree with the view that the results in friendly
matches may be deceptive?
I do not agree with such views but let’s be realistic that if
we win more than one friendly in succession it means the players are
doing well and it bodes well for the confidence of our players. For us
every game is important since we have the Gulf Cup coming up followed
by the Asian Cup. We also have the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying
matches and then 2016 the Olympic Games qualifiers.
Any message for your fans?
I have a message for our fans as we head for the Gulf Cup:
your continued support is important. Whether the results are good or
bad but your support is key for the team.