Doha: A look at the key quotes to emerge from Groups C and D following Saturday’s draw for the AFC U23 Championship Qatar 2016.
Group C: Iraq, Korea Republic, Uzbekistan, Yemen
Group D: Jordan, Australia, UAE, Vietnam
Shin Tae-yong, Head Coach Korea Republic
“I’m satisfied with the draw. It’s a tough one, but we are confident of doing well. Except for maybe Yemen, all three teams in our group – Iraq, Uzbekistan and ourselves are capable of doing well in the competition. We’re confident of winning the tournament. The most important thing is to play confidently and to have the belief that we can win the tournament. I think seven or eight teams – Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Iran, Iraq, the UAE, and Australia are also capable of winning the tournament.”
Dr Hamid Al Shaibani, General Secretary Yemen Football Association
“None of the 16 teams can be taken lightly as each one of them is capable of creating big upsets. Despite having Korea Republic and Iraq in Group C, I’m confident we can make it to the quarter-finals. We started our preparations in May and we will play a friendly against Japan in November. Watch out for us. We can spring a few surprises.”
Ramil Ilyasov, Team Manager Uzbekistan
“Group C is strong as we also have Iraq, Korea Republic and Yemen in it. It’s important for us to treat every match as a final. We want to end up among the top three teams. I’m hopeful our boys will put up a fine show at the event. I wish all the teams the very best.”
Abdulkareem Farhan Khalaf, Team Manager Iraq
“We respect all teams. You all know the current situation in Iraq, which makes it difficult for us to prepare. But we stay optimistic. We’ll announce the team next month, which means the boys will have three months to prepare. We’ll then work hard and try to do our best.”
Toshiya Miura, Head Coach Vietnam.
“Things will be a bit tough for us, but the experience will certainly help our players. We’ll start full-fledged preparations in early December. We’ll draw up a list of friendly matches soon. Frankly, not many people expect us to reach the knockout stage. But we’ll give it our best. Miracles can happen on a football field.”
Abdulla Ahmed Al Ali, Coach UAE
“Australia are easily the strongest team in our group. Most of their players are Europe-based. Physically, they’ll be tough to match. While the Jordanians are strong, Vietnam, an ASEAN side, can’t be underestimated. We’ll reach Doha three days prior to the start of the event. But unfortunately, we won’t have enough time for friendly games. We’ll give chances to our new players.”
Maher AM Tumeh, Team Manager Jordan
“There are no easy groups in tournaments like this. These are the top 16 teams in Asia. Obviously, Australia are the toughest opponents in our group. The UAE are also very strong. We’ll prepare well for the tournament and we’ve the belief that we can do well. We’ve three more months to prepare ourselves. We’ll try to play some friendly matches as well and get ready for the tournament.”
Matthew Sheppard, Team Manager Australia.
“There are no easy games at this level and we’re lucky to avoid some of the top teams. Vietnam are playing in our region and they’re a tricky opponent. Jordan and UAE are West Asian teams, so they know the conditions in Qatar better than us. Our target is to qualify for the Rio Olympic Games and we want to work hard to achieve it.”
Asian Football Confederation Website