After opening their AFC U-23 Asian Cup campaign with a convincing 2-0 win over Indonesia on Monday, Qatar players are on a mission to secure a spot at the Paris Olympics, marking the nation’s first appearance since 1992. With the tournament being held on home soil, the country’s most promising players are ready to showcase their skills on their way to yet another historic success for Qatari football.
Most recently, Qatar’s senior national side claimed their second AFC Asian Cup, making it two consecutive titles for Al Enabbi. Jassim Gaber, an up-and-coming defender, played with the national team and is now looking forward to replicating that success during these Olympic qualifiers. “It was an honour to be part of the national team that won back-to-back Asian Cup championships. I hope that we can do something equally historic during this tournament and reach the Olympics after a long absence for Qatar,” said Gaber.
The top three teams at the AFC U-23 Asian Cup Qatar 2024 will secure an automatic spot at the upcoming Paris Olympics, while the fourth-place team will contest for a place against an African team. Sixteen of the continent’s most promising teams are competing in Qatar for the sixth edition of the tournament, with the competition being played on FIFA World Cup stadiums for the first time.
For goalkeeper Yousef Abdulla, playing in front of a home crowd provides a huge impetus for the aspiring Olympians to reach the Paris games: “I know that as a goalkeeper, there is perhaps extra pressure on me when we are out on the pitch. But, with the support of our fans, I hope that we will be able to succeed in the tournament and qualify to the summer Olympics in Paris.”
Next up for Al Annabi is a much-anticipated meeting against Jordan on April 18 at 6:30pm, before rounding off the group stage against Australia on April 21 at 6:30pm. Both matches are set to take place at Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium.
Mohamed Ayash, who plays his club football for Qatar Stars League side Al Rayyan SC, wants to be part of a historic side that will see the return of Qatari football to the Olympic Games: “It’s been a long time since Qatar took part in the Olympic games, and that is something that we really want to change this time around. We want to make history.”
Qatar’s last appearance at the Summer Olympics football tournament was during the 1992 games held in Barcelona. The team was made up of players from a renowned generation of players that achieved tremendous success for Qatari football. At the heart of the squad was legendary player Mansour Muftah. Thirty-two years later, Muftah’s son Tameem is looking to follow in his father’s glory.
“I hope that I can follow in my father’s footsteps and bring glory to Qatar, just like he did. With the home fans behind us, anything is possible, and I want to play a part in taking Qatar to the Olympics. I want to make all of Qatar proud,” said Tameem Mansour Muftah.
Prices for group stage match tickets start at QR15 and can be purchased online through the Hayya to Qatar mobile app. Spectators from outside Qatar can also purchase tickets from the same platform. Disabled spectators can apply to purchase accessible tickets through [email protected]
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