- Special Pages
DOHA: New Qatar coach Fahad Al Thani is ‘ready’ for tough assignments as the football team targets the remaining 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers and friendlies in the coming months.
Fahad was named Paulo Autuori’s replacement on Tuesday after the Brazilian coach and the Qatar Football Association (QFA) parted ways following the team’s shock exit in the group phase of the Gulf Cup in Bahrain last week.
“It may look difficult to proceed in the World Cup qualifiers but it is not impossible knowing this team’s real potential,” Fahad said in an interview to Qatar Football Assocaition website www.QFA.com.
“I have confidence in this team. I know we can taste success in our future assignments,” he added.
Fahad, who was Autuori’s assistant coach, said the team was aware of priorities with regards to training and match tactics. Answering a question on the remaining Asian Zone World Cup qualifying matches, Fahad said: “I know the task is not easy but like I said, nothing is impossible. What we require is wholehearted effort from everyone concerned. Once the ability meets desire, we can get positive results.”
He refused to downplay the efforts of Autuori in the last year or so when the Brazilian was in charge of the Qatar squad.
Meanwhile, Canada are expected to play Japan in a friendly on March 22 in Doha. The game, at the Khalifa International Stadium, is the third scheduled for Canada in 2013, following friendlies January 26 against Denmark in Tucson and January 29 against the US in Houston.
For Japan, the game is a warm-up for their key World Cup qualifier in Jordan on March 26. A win in Amman would see the Asian champions qualify with two games to spare.
Alberto Zaccheroni’s side, which leads its qualifying group with 13 points, is seeking its fifth straight appearance on the world stage.
Japan are ranked 22nd in the world while Canada are 64th.
The last time Canada played Japan was at the 2001 Confederations Cup in Japan, where the hosts won 3-0.
Canada are preparing for the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup in July, although their bigger plan is rebuilding the team for the next round of World Cup qualifying.
The Canadian men have made it to the World Cup just once, in 1986. Former Canadian international Colin Miller, who was part of that 1986 team, has been named interim coach while the search continues for a permanent replacement for Stephen Hart. THE PENINSULA