Autuori optimistic ahead of Iran tie

February 20, 2012 - 8:29:37 pm


Doha: Qatar’s newly appointed coach Paulo Autuori (pictured) was optimist about the prospects of the national team players before starting training session for the football World Cup 2014 qualifying match against Iran on February 29.

“I have a great deal of confidence in my players’ ability to make it through our next match in Iran,” said the Brazilian.

“We are trying to instill the needed amount of confidence and experience in this stage, we will have the advantage of having many players from Al Sadd who have done really well recently, this of course boosts our chances to produce a solid display in Azadi.”

All 28 players were present for the Qatar national squad’s first gathering since last December under Autuori’s charge. The exceptions were Mohammed Saqr, Youni Ali, Jarralah Al Mari and Abdullah Koni. Qatar SC defender Khalid Saleh was called to join in to compensate for Koni’s absence, according to Qatar Football Association (QFA) news.

The 55-year-old coach praised his predecessor Sebastiao Lazaroni for leaving him the legacy of a strong team that is on the verge of advancing to the final group phase of the Asian zone World Cup qualification stage.

The bottom line is winning, he said. “Whether it is the first team or the Olympic, we are facing a one way situation, winning is mandatory.

“We have a large number of players that are capable of breaking through into the starting line-up, this creates a competitive atmosphere, which is always a good thing.”

Autuori, who has led ACL 2012 qualifiers Al Rayyan to two Emir’s Cup titles and Sao Paulo to glory in the 2005 FIFA Club World Cup, is taking charge of a national team for only the second time in his career following a stint with Peru from 2003 to 2005.

His immediate challenge is to prepare Qatar for the final 2014 FIFA World Cup round three Group E qualifier against Iran.