12/31/2018 3:59:06 PM (GMT+3)

We are satisfied with our preparations, says Qatar captain Al Haidos

We are satisfied with our preparations, says Qatar captain Al Haidos

ABU DHABI: Hassan Al Haidos felt that Qatar's positive performance at the AFC Asian Cup would boost the country's hosting of the FIFA World Cup in 2022.

Qatar have appeared in the Asian Cup nine times, but managed to reach the quarterfinals only twice – in 2000 and 2011 – something which hurts the 28-year-old veteran of more than 100 international matches.

“It’s a very important year for us as we are competing in the Asian Cup as well as the Copa America. I have to thank the federation for Qatar getting an invite to the Copa America which is one of the toughest tournaments in the world,” said Al Haidos. “Then we have the World Cup coming up in four years. These tournaments are part of our preparations for the FIFA World Cup.”

Al Haidos, who plays alongside Barcelona legend Xavi Hernandez for Al Sadd in the Qatar Stars League, said Qatar have a bunch of highly-motivated and talented players ready to make an impact in the UAE and achieve their best-ever result.

“I think we can go beyond the quarter-finals in the UAE. We have very talented players and an excellent coach (Felix Sanchez) who has been with team for than a year,” he said. “On top of that we have a very supportive national federation who are in sync with the team’s requirements."

Qatar have played several friendlies in the latter half of 2018, even shocking Switzerland, the world’s eighth-ranked team, 1-0 in Lugano. They also drew 2-2 with Iceland in Eupen, besides beating Jordan and Kyrgyzstan in Doha in December.

Al Haidos said these results have raised expectations among the public, but that has only motivated the team even further.

“There is no pressure on us (because of raised expectations). In fact, the recent results have only motivated us. We are satisfied with our preparations and hope to continue with our strong performance," he added.