Al Shafei looks forward to competing in AFC U17 Cup
Muscat, Oman: Qatari coach Ibrahim Al Shafei heaped praises on his players for their resilience and outstanding performances in their AFC U17 Asian Cup™ 2023 Qualifiers Group C campaign.
Qatar won the group after beating Iraq, Oman and Lebanon, in addition to a 1-1 draw against Bahrain.
Al Shafie was quoted following the 4-1 triumph over Lebanon on Sunday: Of course, this is a continuation of the recent achievements for Qatari sports in general and football in particular, and we are a part of the Qatari football project for the upcoming years. These players took the big step towards the finals of the AFC U17 Asian Cup, which is definitely an achievement we secured through the teamwork of everyone involved. We congratulate Qatari clubs, the QFA, parents, and Aspire Academy – everyone had a role in this achievement. But this is only the first step. We have a much more formidable challenge ahead: the road to the World Cup. We are taking it step by step until we reach our target.
The young coach added: As for our qualifying campaign, we were in a difficult group with some Gulf teams like Oman, Bahrain, Iraq and also Lebanon. There were multiple favourites to go through as group winners. When we won our first game against a solid Iraqi side, it was a very strong start for us, even after the draw with Bahrain in the second game. We were all confident that we could come back, and we came back very strongly against Oman, and today we completed our task in a big way against Lebanon. When you win against Iraq, Oman and Lebanon and draw with Bahrain, I think it’s a very successful campaign. We didn’t have many negatives.
I tell my boys that this is only the start. We have completed our first step, and we have many steps remaining in the near future, starting with the AFC U17 Asian Cup finals. A big future awaits in your sporting career. You must work hard and persevere on every small detail to improve both individually and as a group, and also focus on the mental aspect on and off the pitch. One step is done, but more essential steps remain ahead of us.
We look forward to competing in the AFC U17 Asian Cup finals, not just participating. As we showed everyone, the team’s level bodes well for the future, and we are going to the AFC U17 Asian Cup to compete for one of the top four spots that will take us to the U17 World Cup. This is what we want, it’s our target, and we hope we can achieve it.