New Delhi, Oct 4 (IANS) Iraq U-17 coach Qahtan Jathir on Wednesday asserted that his wards will try to showcase the best of Asian football when they take the field at the upcoming FIFA U-17 World Cup to be held from October 6-28.
The Asian Champions are placed alongside Mexico, Chile and England in Group F in the prestigious tournament.
Iraq, who have made only one appearance in U-17 World Cup at the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in 2013, were knocked-out in the group stage in their last participation.
“All the teams are very strong and well organised and we will do our best as Asia champions to overcome and do our best to show the bright side of Asian football,” Jathir told IANS from Kolkata.
Jathir began his playing career at the Iraqi club Al Talaba and later had spells in Qatar and the UAE. He retired as a player in 2007 and later coached Al-Sinaa, Al-Najaf and Al-Shorta.
The coach was all praise for midfielder Mohammed Abdulrahim and said he will be a key player for Iraq due to his ability on the wings and on set-pieces.
“The player Mohammed Abdulrahim is our coaching staff’s choice as he is good to play on sides… also good to play free kicks and penalty kicks,” Jathir said.
The Iraq coach expected local spectators to support his side which will be playing for the second time in India after being crowned the 2016 AFC U-16 Champions defeating Iran in the final.
“It was nice to play in India during the AFC U-16 Finals and I am happy to play again here and hope we can get the support of Indian fans during our matches,” the Iraq U-17 coach said.
Jathir also expressed his dissatisfaction in the preparation of the U-17 World Cup and said they failed to arrange practice fixtures against the sides who have qualified for the World Cup.
“It’s the biggest event for the age category and it’s an honour to be part of it. Our preparations started from August 2016 but it was very difficult preparations as we couldn’t arrange any matches against teams which have already qualified to the FIFA U-17 World Cup. Anyhow, we as coaching staff and players will do our best during the tournament,” Jathir said.
Iraq will begin their quest for the U-17 World Cup against Mexico at the Salt Lake stadium in Kolkata on October 8.