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Autuori is new coach of Qatar Olympic team

DOHA: The Qatar Football Association (QFA) roped in Brazilian Paulo Autuori as the new coach of the Qatar Olympic team on Saturday.

Autuori, who formerly coached several sides including the Peru national team, held discussions QFA President Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa bin Ahmed Al Thani and decided to take up the job.

Under his predecessor Simondi Bernard, who took charge in May, the team recently finished fourth in the six-team GCC Under-23 Championship at the ASPIRE Indoor Football Stadium. Qatar’s 2012 London Olympics Asian Zone qualification is set to begin on September 21 and the QFA has entrusted Autuori with the task of arresting the slump.

Qatar are drawn into a strong Group A, also comprising South Korea, Saudi Arabia and recently-crowned GCC champions Oman, and winning a berth at the Olympics would not be even in their wildest dreams. Instead, avoiding embarrassments would be the priority.

With only 3.5 berths allotted for Asia, just like last time, it would be a near-impossible task for Qatar in the qualification and they would hope not to end up as the punching bag in the group.

Only a handful of players are regular starters with their Qatar Stars League clubs and Autuori, or any other coach for that matter, would not be able to work wonders within a short time. But the QFA believes since most of the players are from his former club Rayyan, Autuori would be the best choice to manage them in the current situation.

Moreover, the senior national team has reverted to the South American style by opting for Sebastiao Lazaroni and the QFA believes it would be wise to have another Brazilian guiding the Olympic team as well.

Autuori, who helped Sao Paulo win the Club World Cup in ’05, is a strict disciplinarian and taskmaster and had groomed several players at Rayyan. It would be interesting to see how he approaches the new job. The team management is impatient when it comes to results, but Autuori possesses the courage of convictions and that should help him in his way forward.