FIFA Club World Cup 2020 – News – Lamouchi: We want to be the best representative of Qatar

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  • Al Duhail won the Qatar Stars League last season
  • The Red Knights are ready to participate in the FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2020 ™
  • Manager Sabri Lamouchi talks about his side’s goals for the tournament

Qatar Stars League Champions Al Duhail is ready to take part in the FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2020 ™, where they will rub shoulders with continental champions from around the world.

The Red Knights saw a decline in results and performance this season, prompting the club’s management to appoint Sabri Lamouchi as head coach back in October. The Frenchman from Tunisia has been working hard to get the club back on track since then.

FIFA.com spoke with Lamouchi, who expressed his enthusiasm for the upcoming global showpiece. “It’s a great opportunity, even though I was not at the helm of the team that won the league title,” he said. “Credit goes to the coach who was here before me. The tournament will give my players a chance to showcase their skills at a higher level.”

Realistic goals

Lamouchi sounded a cautious note, clearly in an attempt not to give fans false hope. “I’m here because the team had some issues last year and the club’s management wanted to introduce some changes,” he said. “Our goal is to be more competitive and be the best representative of Qatar and the Qatari League.”

“We have to be realistic about our goals and recognize the fact that we are participating in this tournament because Qatar is the host country and that we won the league last year,” he said. “Winning the title is not my goal. We take things one game at a time. We are lucky to play at this level. It is a big challenge and we must not be too optimistic.”

All eyes on the opener

In their opening match, Al Duhail takes on Auckland City, where the club plays a record-breaking ninth appearance in the tournament. “We’ll see how it goes,” Lamouchi said. “I arrived here two months ago when we had some problems. I’m not a magician and will not mislead our fans. I can only promise that my technical team and I will do our best – but it won ‘t be easy . “

“We have not recruited any new players, foreign or local, and we only have two foreign players despite our team being able to have up to seven,” he said. “We have seven games in January and will use them to prepare for the tournament. Our preparation starts with winning our league games and getting more organized to avoid unpleasant surprises in our opening against Auckland City.”

In familiar territory

Having first played in Qatar 15 years ago, Lamouchi is no stranger to the country. Asked for his opinion on the nation that will host several massive football tournaments, in particular the FIFA Club World Cup and FIFA World Cup ™, he said: “I came to Qatar as a player in 2006, then as a coach in 2015 and “now I’m back. The country has changed a lot in terms of facilities, infrastructure, roads and airport.”

“Other things have improved, such as the stadiums being built,” he said. “Clubs are now more professional and the league has become more competitive. In addition, Qatar has recently won the AFC Asian Cup.”

“I am very excited about the World Cup coming to Qatar,” he added. “No one thought the World Cup would be held here one day, but the preparations are on track. Transportation is much better than 15 years ago and life in Qatar has become more comfortable.”

“The country is developing fast, so I look forward to seeing the World Cup held for the first time in a Muslim country and in the Middle East. I think it will be a great success.”

FIFA tournaments that bring hope

Following several cancellations last year due to Covid-19, FIFA tournaments are scheduled to resume this year, starting with the FIFA Club World Cup. “It’s a positive sign that FIFA competitions will be back, starting with the Club World Cup,” said Lamouchi. “2020 was a difficult year for everyone, not just in football. When competitions like these resume, we are tempted to believe that the worst is over, but we need to be careful with the virus.”

Asked about the difficult year and his ambitions for 2021, Lamouchi said: “I wish everyone good health. After a year like 2020, we wonder when life will return to normal and when we will be able to travel and take care of our families. In addition to my personal goals, it is my wish for the new year. “

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