Lack of match practice no issue for hosts Qatar

March 05, 2014 - 3:26:00 am

Qatar players are seen during a training session at Al Gharafa Stadium yesterday. Qatar today take on Bahrain in their final 2015 Asian Cup qualifying match.

DOHA: An apparent lack of match practice will be no issue for hosts Qatar who take on neighbouring Bahrain in an inconsequential 2015 Asian Cup qualifier at Al Gharafa Stadium today. 

Qatar, who are a spot behind points leaders Bahrain in Group D, will be aiming for a win to go top of the group.

Qatar coach Fahad Thani said at a pre-match press conference: “We are more than ready for this match. We’re well prepared mentally, physically and tactically.”

When reminded of his team’s lack of match practice, coach Fahad said: “It has been four months since we played our last match as a team. However, the players have played in their teams during the AFC Champions League and local Qatari leagues. I’m very confident of the level of performance of the players and it will be showcased in the match.”

Fahad told media people: “I’m also hopeful that we will play a very good game and looking forward to playing against Bahrain.”

Qatar, who went down to Bahrain when the two sides met in Manama a year ago in their first match of the home-away series, are hoping for fan boost at Al Gharafa Stadium. 

“Like I said, our focus is to portray a good level of performance and we’re ready in that aspect. We hope to see our fans in the stadium tomorrow because their support to the team is very important for us,” coach Fahad said. 

Bahrain’s American coach Anthony Hudson said his team was taking the match seriously despite both sides already through to next year’s Asian Cup to be held in Australia.

“We have been training for eight days so far and we are very confident,” Hudson said. 

“We are very well prepared and looking forward to the game. We’re focused on the match and we’ve trained well for it,” Hudson added. 

Hudson said Bahrain won’t be playing for a draw. 

“We are here to win the game. Our approach towards this game is the same approach to any other games we’ve played before, playing to win. Qatar play really good football, they have good players, good coach, and good individuals,” Hudson said. 

Bahrain’s Mohammed Hussain said a win would help Bahrain rise in FIFA rankings. 

“Qatar is a young team with a young coach. We will play our best in the match because we have trained very well and we’re prepared to play the match the best way we can,” Hussain said.

“We look forward to playing Qatar in Doha. 

“The match tomorrow will have an impact on our FIFA ranking, therefore, we are eager to win it,” Hussain added. 

Qatar’s Meshaal Abdullah said: “I thank the coach and everyone for believing in me to play in this match after not playing with the national team for many years.”

Abdullah said: “Bahrain is a good team. We also intend on winning to improve our FIFA ranking.” THE PENINSULA

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