Qatar national team coach Djamel Belmedi speaking at the pre-match press conference on the eve of the final of the 8th West Asia Football Federation (WAFF) championship in Doha yesterday. RIGHT: Hossam Hassan, coach of Jordan team at the press conference. Qatar will take on Jordan in the final today at Al Sadd Stadium at 8.30pm. PICTURES BY: ABDUL BASIT
DOHA: Qatar is likely to tinker with their winning combination in the final of the West Asia Football Federation (WAFF) championship against Jordan when they two sides lock horns in the title clash.
Qatar have never won the WAFF title, but the hosts has set their intentions clear from the first match itself that they are confident of winning the silverware in front of the home supporters this time.
Qatar national team coach Djamel Belmedi said at the pre-match press conference: “We are here to win the tournament. It will be a very tough game but we will do our best to win the trophy. In each previous match, I made minor changes to the squad and I will be changing it a little for the final match but I can’t tell you which squad I will use in the final.”
Belmedi, who said on the eve of the championship that his side are strong title contenders to win the title, will be hoping that his boys live up to his words.
He added: “It’s good that we had many spectators in previous matches and it’s good that we will have a good number in the final too, it motivates the players to play better. Jordan also has a good fan base here in Qatar and I saw this when they played Bahrain last time, there were many spectators supporting them.”
Qatar has had made gradual progress in the championship.
They struggled to 1-0 win over Palestine in their first match in the group stage of the tournament. In the second match, Qatar trounced Saudi Arabia 4-1 to qualify for the semi-final stage of the tournament. The hosts made it to the final with a 3-0 extra-time win over Kuwait.
Belmadi’s counterpart Hossam Hassan said: “Reaching the final is an honour for us and if we win the final, it will make us all very happy. We are playing to win tomorrow and if we win it, I would like to say that I dedicate the trophy, to H R H Prince Ali bin Al Hussein, His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan, the Jordanian nation.”
He added: “Football players are used to playing in all different types of weather conditions. what matters is the pitch condition in the likely case of rain tomorrow. If it does rain, it will affect both teams. I hope that the best team wins tomorrow.”
Jordan edged past Kuwait 2-1 to reach the semi-finals, while were locked in a goalless draw against Lebanon in the first match of the group stage.
In the last four stage, Jordan overcame winning against Bahrain 1-0.
In the third-place play-off Bahrain take on Kuwait.
Anthony Hudson, the Bahrain coach said: “There were lots of positives in the previous match played against Jordan, we are happy with the way the game went. Jordan didn’t have many opportunities in the last game, if anything, our team gave them a hard time.”
He added: “I will pick 11 players that I feel will win the match for us. I’m in a position where I feel I can make very strong decisions on which players to pick for tomorrow’s match.”
Responding to a question regarding how Bahrain didn’t score a single goal since the beginning of the championship, he said: “We are missing strikers, we are a very strong and organised team, and for me it’s only a matter of time before we score goals tomorrow. We have to make sure the players keep believing in themselves.”
Nine countires took part in the championship with defending champions Syria and four-time champion side Iran not making the Doah trip.
The final will be played at Al Sadd Stadium.
The match kicks-off at 8.30pm while the third place match will begin at 5.30pm.