Sanchez looking forward for kick-off day
Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar: Coach Felix Sanchez insists Qatar are intent to make an impression at the AFC U-19 Championship this month, ahead of Friday’s Group D opener against Korea DPR at Wunna Theik Stadium.
Three-time champions DPR Korea crashed out in the group stages of the biennial tournament in 2012, failing to defend the title at the first hurdle, but this year coach An has seen the developmental sides go from strength to strength.
And now with DPR Korea set to face Qatar, Oman and Iraq in the group stages of the AFC U-19 Championship in Myanmar – with the semi-finalists also earning a place at the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup – An believes that his players can add to his country’s successful 2014.
“The government and the people in my country are very eager to see great results here because we have seen a lot of success this year in our long-term youth development project that we are carrying out,” said coach An, who will be without suspended midfielder Jin Il-sok against Qatar.
“We have a tough group as all the teams in Group D were the first-place finishers in their qualifiers. And we are at a disadvantage because they are all West Asian teams and we don’t have so much experience playing against them.
“However, we have prepared for six months for this competition and there is no doubt in my mind that we are here to win this championship.”
Opponents Qatar, meanwhile, are still looking to the future and their role as hosts of the 2022 FIFA World Cup with coach Felix Sanchez Bas well aware of the importance of further progress for his young side.
“For us it’s very important to do the best we can and qualify for the U-20 World Cup, but, of course, there are 15 other teams with that same goal,” said Sanchez Bas.
“We are here to perform well and get some good results – despite having a very tough group – and we are eagerly anticipating our first Matchday kick-off.