DOHA: Buoyed by their recent good form, football minnows Al Shamal are eyeing the second round of the Emir Cup which kicks-off with two matches today.
Al Shamal, who won promotion to Qatar Stars League (QSL) by winning the Second Division, take on Al Shahaniya in their first match of the Emir Cup, the country’s most popular football tournament.
The match will be played at Al Arabi Stadium.
Al Shamal coach, Silvio D’Alberto yesterday said his team are aiming to reach the second round of the key event.
“I would like to congratulate my team on becoming a first division club. Our match against Al Shahaniya will not be an easy one. Al Shahaniya is a very good team and they have very good midfield,” D’Alberto said.
“We will play very aggressively in the match as we don’t want to be disqualified from the first round of the Emir Cup,” he added.
When asked about his strategy in keeping Al Shamal as a first division club, he said: “There are two examples in QSL of where two of the clubs were relegated and these are Muaither and Al Ahli, In my opinion, management is very important in keeping the club in the first division, as well as choosing good players and working on the players to maintain their good performance. We want to see how far we are from the first division clubs, the gap is obviously big but we also have good players that are able to play extremely well in Emir Cup this year.”
He added: “You have to make sure your defence is strong enough throughout the season in order to avoid being relegated to Second Division. Our defence in Qatargas League was one of the strongest. We can only find out how we will perform by testing against QSL teams.”
Al Shahaniya coach Alexander Gama said his players were ‘very motivated’ for a positive result.
“The players are working very hard. We lost against Al Shamal but we are working very hard to qualify for the next round. We need to prepare well to stay in first division league. We are working very hard and we will fight all the way,” Gama said.
In day’s second match, Mesaimeer will take on Al Markhiya at Al Arabi Stadium
Mesaimeer coach Raad Abdul Latif said: “I’m honoured to lead my side in the Emir Cup. I hope that our match against Al Markhiya will leave a good impression. Emir Cup is different from Qatargas League because there’s less matches and if you lose once you’re out immediately. We have prepared very well for our match and are hoping for the best result against Al Markhiya.”
Al Markhiya coach Peter Polack yesterday said: “We lost many matches in the league because of many mistakes that were made, whether individually or as a team. I hope we perform well in the match. We will work very hard to rectify these mistakes and avoid these errors in the Cup.” THE PENINSULA