Qatar face tough challenge in Asian Championship, but coach Soto optimistic

Qatar face tough challenge in Asian Championship, but coach Soto optimistic

Doha, Qatar: Qatar are in their final stage of preparations for the Asian Volleyball Championships to be held in Tehran, Iran, from September 13 to 21 and coach Camilo Soto was cautiously optimistic about their chances.

Sato said Qatar were working hard as they prepare for the tough challenge.

“It will not be easy for us in the Asian Championship as we have Iran and Australia in our group. They are the toughest teams in Asia. We need to beat one of the two teams to enter the second round,” Sato told Doha Stadium Plus, after a friendly match against India at the Qatar Volleyball Association Hall on Monday.

Qatar lost to India in an exciting five-setter, but Soto did not give too much of importance to the result and said it gave them the chance to learn from their mistakes.

“It’s the first game for us in this last phase of training. We made a lot of mistakes in attack and also India did well in defence. So it put us little bit not in comfort zone for us. And we couldn’t fix it.

“When you win its OK, when you lose you learn. We still have enough time to prepare ourselves and this is an important period,” said the 44-year-old Argentinian.

Qatar will play India again on Tuesday before facing China twice and Australia in warm-up matches.

“We have tough teams here to play the practice matches. Now we play India tomorrow again Then we play China, Australia and then China again.

“So this will be the last days of preparations. We still have enough time to prepare ourselves and this is an important period,” said Soto, who guided Argentina to the Under-23 world title in 2017 August before taking charge of Qatar.

In Tehran, Qatar are in Group A where Sri Lanka are the fourth team.

Only the top two teams will progress to the next round. A top-two place in the group will also be enough for a place in the 2020 Men's Asian Continental Olympic Qualification Tournament in China early next year.

Qatar start their campaign on September 13 against Australia before taking on Iran the next day. Their final match in the group is against Sri Lanka on September 15.

Qatar squad: Mubarak Dahi, Ahmed Jamal, Ibrahim Saeed, Bilal Abunbout, Othman Abdel Wahed, Nader Abu Bakr, Mahmoud Essam, Renan, Khaled Shamia, Mahdi Badreddine, Milos, Sultan Abdullah, Sami Mahmoud, Suleiman Saeed, Naji Mahmoud

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