09 Sep 2017 - 0:20
Al Sadd and Duhail eye season’s first silverware
By Armstrong Vas / The Peninsula
Al Sadd and Al Duhail will be looking to kick off the new season in style by picking up the first silverware in the one-match season-opener Sheikh Jassim Cup at Sheikh Abdullah bin Khalifa Stadium her today.
Al Duhail, which won the Qatar Stars League title last season as Lekhwiya, will be looking to get off to the best starts for the long and challenging season ahead.
Coach Djamel Belmadi’s side will face fierce competition from Al Sadd team, which won two local titles last year - Qatar Cup and Emir’s Cup, when the two sides kick off at 7.00pm today.
Belmadi, who managed to retain the hot seat as coach of Duhail in the unification of Lekhwiya and El Jaish teams, said his team is keen to begin the campaign on a winning note.
“It’s an important match for us and we’ll want to win the title and begin the season on a positive note,” said the Algerian during a press conference.
Belmadi said his team is looking forward to the match against Al Sadd which he said is an ideal preparation for the long and tough road ahead.
“It’s always a challenge to take on Al Sadd but there is no better way to prepare for the long season ahead. We have prepared well and are looking forward for a good result. We aim for success in every season. My mission is to work with the players on achieving the best results.”
“It’s going to a difficult season as most of the teams will be hoping to do well,” added Belmadi.
Belmadi’s opposite number, Al Sadd coach Jesualdo Ferreira said his side will miss a number of players going into the match as they are on the injured list.
“We’re missing some important players, for sure it will have an impact on our performance,” said Ferreira.
The Wolves will be without experienced centre-back Ibrahim Majid and Pedro Miguel in the season’s first competition.
The Portuguese said, besides injuries, his team missed players who were busy with World Cup qualifying duty for Qatar and Iran and informed they joined the team only on Wednesday.
“There are injuries and some of the players have just joined. We haven’t settled on a line-up yet. We didn’t play any official match in four months. The last match we played was in the Emir Cup final against Al Rayyan,” Ferreira added.
“It would not be easy for the team because we are going to face one of the best teams in Qatar,” he added.
Meanwhile Duhail’s Abdulrahman Abker said he is keen to made an ‘ideal’ start to the season.
“We aim to win our first title of the season and make an ideal start to the year ahead. It will also motivate us to do well in the (QNB Stars League) league.”
Abker praised the backroom staff for keeping the players fit during the off season.
“Thank God, the coaching staff have worked hard with the players and helped them to reach their highest level of physical fitness.”