(MENAFN- The Peninsula) fawad hussain |
Qatar yesterday confirmed Carlos Queiroz as head coach of the national team after signing a contract with the much-travelled Portuguese coach that will see him at helm of Al Annabi side until 2026.
After days of speculation linking Queiroz to the Qatar job, the Qatar Football Association (QFA) General Secretary Mansour Al Ansari signed a contract with the new coach at Al Bidda Tower yesterday.
“The contract period will be until the 2026 FIFA World Cup, which will be held in America, Canada and Mexico,” QFA said on its website.
Queiroz, who will turn 70 on March 1, takes over from coach Felix Sanchez whose contract was not renewed after Al Annabi's failure at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.
The Portuguese coached Iran at Qatar 2022, which was his fourth overall and third World Cup campaign with Team Melli. He also managed Iran at 2014 and 2018 World Cups.
Queiroz, who was also in charge of Portugal's 2010 World Cup campaign, guided South Africa to qualification for the 2002 finals but he stepped down before the tournament.
“Queiroz is the longest-serving manager in the history of the Iran national team, serving almost eight years between 2011 and 2019. He returned to the role for Iran's 2022 World Cup campaign. He is the only manager in the country's history to lead them at three consecutive World Cups,” said QFA.
The Portuguese also coached the United Arab Emirates, Colombia and Egypt while his club experience includes a spell as head coach at Real Madrid and as assistant to Alex Ferguson at Manchester United.
Queiroz's first test
Queiroz's first major assignment with Qatar will be the 2023 CONCACAF Gold Cup where Al Annabi will make guest appearance for the second time after reaching the semi-finals in 2021. The tournament will be played from June 24 to July 16.
Qatar will also defend their title at AFC Asian Cup 2023 at home with tournament's schedule yet to be announced. Queiroz's main task, however, will be to help Qatar qualify for the 2026 World Cup that will feature 48 teams, expanded from 32.
The QFA will also expect the Portuguese to take Qatar to new heights after the national side achieved several milestones under Sanchez, who was elevated as Qatar coach in 2017 after mentoring national youth sides.
Under the Spaniard, Qatar clinched their maiden Asian Cup title in 2019 and two years later they emerged 42nd ranked side in the world – Al Annabi's highest-ever ranking equalling the mark they set in 1993. Qatar are currently ranked 60th in the FIFA Rankings.
Qatar also did well in other international matches in recent years under Sanchez but a poor show in the World Cup where the hosts lost all their group matches and made an early exit brought his long stint to an end.
Meanwhile, Queiroz's immediate task will be to finalise a group of Al Annabi players after Qatar sent a new-look side at the 25th Arabian Gulf Cup held in Basra, Iraq last month.
Led by interim coach Bruno Pinheiro, Qatar were without most of their senior players who were“rested” for the eight-nation tournament after the World Cup.
The list includes Hassan Al Haydos, Akram Afif, Almoez Ali, Abdulaziz Hatem, Karim Boudiaf, Boualam Khoukhi, Bassam Al Rawi, Saad Al Sheeb and Pedro Miguel.
Despite missing senior players, Al Annabi managed to reach the semi-finals with youngsters showing impressive performances. Debutants Amro Siraj and Tamim Mansour, who excelled in crucial stages during the event, are believed to be the biggest positives for Qatar from the tournament.