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DOha: Hosts Qatar is looking for a positive result when they host Afghanistan in the Group A match of the 2013 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Asian qualifiers which kick off at Katara Beach here today.
Both Qatar and Afghanistan are taking part in the Asian qualifiers for the first time.
The clash of the debutants is one of the eight matches which are due to take place on the opening day of the five-day tournament.
The FIFA World Cup 2022 hosts is also hosting the Asian qualifiers for the first time.
The hosts are keen to make an impressive beginning before the home crowd.
Qatar’s Brazilian coach Carlos Alberto Lisboa, popularly known as Nenem, appeared confident ahead of the tournament.
“We played against China and lost 3-2 and we also played two more pratice matches against two local Brazilian Futsal sides, ahead of the championship. All the players are in good shape and are keen to give their best,” said Nenem, who is the top Brazilian goalscorer in the history of Beach Soccer and who was voted best player in the world in 2002.
“We also trained in Dubai for one week,” said the Brazilian who has been with the team for the last two seasons.
“It a nice thing that the qualifiers are taking place in Qatar and we hope we can qualify for the World Cup in Tahiti. All our players are locally based players and the qualifying round is an exciting opportunity for our team. We will have the advantage of playing our matches in front of a home crowd. I hope that hosting the event will engage the local public with the sport and raise awareness of the talent that we have in our squad,” he added.
For the first time, 16 teams will fight for one of three prized berths to the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2013 in Tahiti.
The first placed teams from each of the four groups advance to the semi-finals.
The two finalists and the third place play-off winner will qualify for the seventh edition of the Beach Soccer World Cup, to be held from September 18 to 28 in Tahiti.
Japan, won the 2011 Asian Beach Soccer Championship in Oman defeating the hosts 2-1, while Iran qualified as a third placed team for the World Cup finals.
Spectators can attend all matches free of charge and a small fan zone has been set up adjacent to the Stadium, informed the organisers of the event.