Belmadi fancies Qatar’s AFC chances

Qatar coach Djamel Belmadi says his team will do their best to repeat their Gulf Cup of Nations success in the upcoming AFC Asian Cup tournament.

Qatar's 2-1 victory over Saudi Arabia saw them win their third Gulf Cup of Nations trophy, and the Marseille and Southampton player hopes the side can carry their form over to Australia.

Belmadi said: "We have big ambitions and this competition (the AFC Asian Cup) is a new step for us in a long-term project.

“All the signs point to Japan, Australia and Korea Republic as favourites, but that doesn't mean we don't have a chance. Every competition is unique and we'll give everything to be up to the challenge.

"We had a good Gulf Cup tournament. We knew the difficulties and pressure we'd be up against and the neutrals didn't think we'd go far, but we showed that we deserved this title. Before every competition, we set ourselves a goal, which we quietly work towards.

“The players followed all their instructions and made the most of their talent and combative spirit. This is an important title for us because we'd been waiting for it for ten years, and the fact that it's come a month before the Asian Cup is a boost for our morale."

Qatar are in Group C along with Iran, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. The Algerian coach assessed his side's competitors.

He added: "Iran took part in the 2014 World Cup.

"The Emirates have a good squad which has pulled off some remarkable results recently. As for Bahrain, they're looking to show they're competitive at this level. It's a tough group and none of the games will be easy. We'll need to start off well against the Emirates because an opening win would move us closer to qualification and be a real plus for our motivation. We'll do our best, while hoping that things go our way."