Al Gharafa coach Zico (left) and his counterpart Sebastiao Lazaroni during their press conferences at Al Bidda Tower in Doha yesterday. Points leaders Qatar SC take on Al Gharafa in round four of Qatar Stars League (QSL) today.
DOHA: Points leaders Qatar SC have a chance to pick up key points as they host out-of-sorts Al Gharafa in round four of Qatar Stars League (QSL) action today.
However, Al Gharafa will be hoping new recruit Miku brings with him the magic touch as they visit Suheim Bin Hamad Stadium.
Al Gharafa’s Brazilian coach Zico has Miku available this weekend, along with star attraction Lisandro Lopez, who has seen life with his new club curtailed by injury.
“We’ve had absences of very important players which has not helped us,” Zico said.
“But we hope to forget this and get much better with the signing of Miku. We have problems in the middle of the park but by October 19th we should have all our players back and we can play with a full squad,” the Brazilian added.
“I have confidence in my players they will give their maximum. We must think about the players who are able to play and not look at the players who are injured.
“It’s a big opportunity for our players to show what they can do. This is a big opportunity for them and I want them to take advantage.”
Zico’s counterpart is Sebastiao Lazaroni, ‘a friend’ according to the latter.
“Zico is my friend, my amigo. He played at Flamengo way back in the 1980s when I was his coach,” Lazaroni said.
“He is an incredible person and will be an incredible coach. I had the pleasure of training him. We are only three years different of age but I am privileged to have coached such a special player.
“Before he came to Qatar I would spend my holidays with him. I would travel to Brazil on vacation to see him. We would play football together in Brazil during the summer; lots of old people on the beach having fun. They were good times,” Lazaroni added.
“As a player he was one of the best in history. I enjoyed every single moment I watched him play the game.
“He would stand up to any player today. If he was playing against Qatar Sports Club this weekend it would be a disaster.”
Still settling in to life in the QSL, Zico is not satisfied with the way his Al Gharafa side have begun the season. But one thing that has given him pleasure is the chance to catch up with his old friend.
“Lazaroni has been a good friend of mine for a lot of years,” Zico said. “It’s difficult to take on a person that you like in life, but that’s football. It is funny we are both here. I met him when I was a coach in Iraq and I learned a lot from him when he was my coach.
“Of course now in this game our friendship stops for 90 minutes. Right now his team are better than ours and we must focus on beating Qatar in this game.
“We are not happy about the last two results. But we understand the situation we are in until now and what we have to do to fix it,” Zico said.
In other games today, defending champions take on Umm Salal at Suheim Bin Hamad Stadium while Eljaish visit Al Khor to take on Al Kharaitiyat.
The Qatar SC-Al Gharafa match kicks-off at 8:30pm while the Al Sadd fixture will start 6:15pm. All games will be beamed live on Al Kass Sports Channel.