Qatar can reach 2018 World Cup, says new coach Fossati

 28 Sep 2016 - 14:48

Qatar can reach 2018 World Cup, says new coach Fossati
Qatar’s new head coach Jorge Fossati addressing the media during a press briefing held in Doha yesterday. (Picture by Abdul Basit / The Peninsula)

By Rizwan Rehmat / The Peninsula

DOHA: New coach Jorge Fossati yesterday said Qatar has the potential to reach the finals of the 2018 FIFA World Cup despite a couple of qualifying losses earlier this month.

Fossati this week took over as coach after the exit of Daniel Carreno under whom Qatar lost two key 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying games against Iran and Uzbekistan.

“They (Qatar Football Association) called us and I couldn’t say ‘no’. I took the responsibility because I believe in the quality of the players. There were bad results in the last two games but qualification is possible,” the Uruguayan said at his official unveiling yesterday.

“I know it will be very, very difficult (but) I am optimistic. I repeat, I believe in Qatar’s possibilities. I am very happy to come back to the national team. It was not easy for me to accept the job in a few hours as I left my group of Al Rayyan players,” Fossati said.

The 63-year-old said he won’t make any promises.

“I never promise a result. From my point of view whoever promises a result knows nothing about football,” he said.

“The qualification (stage) starts now. The first two games are closed because they have passed. We can change the future. We are preparing ourselves for Korea clash. We respect them and we will go there very optimistic (about) our chances,” Fossati said.
Qatar face Korea on October 6 before returning home for their clash against Syria on October 11.

This is Fossati’s second stint with the national side having coached Qatar in the 2007-2008 season before quitting due to health reasons.

Fossati, who guided Qatar Stars League (QSL) giants Al Sadd to the AFC Champions League title in 2011, returned to Qatar with Al Rayyan last year.

Such was Fossati’s impact that he guided Al Rayyan to QSL title glory with five rounds to spare in March this year.

“I am grateful to Al Rayyan fans and the team management. Al Rayyan and Al Sadd will remain in my heart. I’ve had fantastic times with them. They have my best wishes for the season, for the future,” Fossati said.

“I know the next two games will be very important. From my point of view there’s nothing definitive in any way - 3 or 6 points, we can’t say. Nothing is concrete. From now we have 24 points in front of us and you don’t need 24 points to qualify. I will go game by game,” he said.

Fossati said accepting the Qatar offer just days before their key game against Korea is not a rushed decision.
“I accepted this offer because I love Qatar.  I never forget grateful people. I am very, very grateful to Qatari people. In 2005-2006, Qatar opened the doors for me.‎ I made great relationships. Everyday I feel the love and respect Qatar give me. To me that is essential in life,” Fossati said.

“If I have taken the responsibility that is because I believe in Qatar’s chances (of qualifying). I could have said ‘it’s not my time’. But we really can do it. I know it will be very, very difficult. We will do our job. We will do our best to help the players.”

“We are not magic people (coach and the backroom staff) that we could touch the players and make things happen. We will try to increase our chances and to improve the players’ or the team’s performances to have better results,” Fossati said.
Fossati also said that his chief concern is to make the most of the available time before the October 6 clash against Korea.
“Believe me, our worry now is the time. The short time that we have to work before the next two games is of concern,” Fossati said.

“Yes, it’s true that my contract is for two years. It will finish in May 2018. I don’t want to include the 2018 World Cup. (If Qatar qualifies), I will ask for a bigger contract,” Fossati said with a smile.

“Today I see that Qatar could qualify through third-place qualification than direct qualification. We have two games and 0 points. Maybe this situation (will) change. It doesn’t depend on our results. It also depends on other results. I hope we can do it direct,” he said.

Fossati said Qatar will play a friendly against Serbia tomorrow.

Fossati said he is open to the idea of getting more player data from outgoing coach Carreno.
“This is the way I want - to have info from Carreno and his staff. I will meet him as soon as possible. He was here for more than one year. All info they can pass on will be welcome,” Fossati said.

“I was speaking with the club coaches about what they think about our team and if they have some suggestion, we will welcome that. My priority is to know everything about my players. I need all the info on our opponents. I have been watching videos of Korea. I will watch videos of our team. We have plans to follow,” he said.

When asked if he were a man with ‘luck on his side’, Fossati said: “I am very, very lucky. I have a fantastic family. I am about to complete 42 years of marriage. I have three daughters. I have very nice friends.”

“For sure I have luck on my side. You must find luck with your attitude, your attention.”