Doha: Qatar coach Bruno Miguel said his boys were ready for tough competition when they take on Iraq and Lebanon in group C of the AFC U-19 qualifiers in Doha from November 4 to 8.
Qatar have their work cut out for them as Iraq, always a strong team, are the quarterfinalists last edition while Lebanon are also a competent side.
“Lebanon and Iraq are very good teams," said Qatar coach Bruno Miguel before a team training session on Thursday. “Iraq are always a strong team. They lost to Saudi Arabia in penalties in the quarterfinal last season. I’m not expecting any easy games.”
Qatar have been readying themselves for the competition for the last few months and coach said he was satisfied with the preparations.
“We did good preparations. We competed a lot and we fought in all games. We did well in some games, some not so good. But it is normal. We can’t play in the same level against all opponents. In the end, I think our preparations were very good.
Qatar had undergone a camp in Slovenia as part of their preparations while they also played three friendly matches — against Iran Uzbekistan and India — in Doha after that.
They lost to Uzbekistan in the first match, drew goalless with Iran and beat India 1-0.
Qatar, the champions of the 2014 edition of the AFC U-19 Championships in Myanmar, lost in the group stage in 2016 and expectations are high on the boys to do well in the qualifiers.
“We want to ensure that we qualify first, said Miguel. “We want to be focused and compete.”
The Portuguese coach said the qualifiers were step in the development of the youth players as Qatar continue to work towards producing teams that can compete with the strongest sides in world
Qatar they take on Lebanon on November 6 and Iraq on November 8. Afghanistan, the fourth team in the group, withdrew from the tournament.