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Nov 26 - Dec 8, 2019
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Qatar colts game for Arab Under-17 Championship

The side, preparing under the careful supervision of Serbian Ivan Petkovic, will begin its campaign in Tunisia on Sunday.
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Qatari players and officials pose for a photograph. IQ Photo: Vinod Divakaran

For the last few days, the Al Duhail Indoor Arena has been reverberating with cheers for Qatar’s senior national team as it tries to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Away from the spotlight, in the facility’s basement training venue, the national under-17 team has also been hard at work. They are preparing for their maiden appearance in the Arab Under-17 Championship, beginning at Hammamet, Tunisia, on October 27.

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Ivan Petkovic explains a move to the Qatari players. IQ Photo: Vinod Divakaran

Qatar will open their campaign against Saudi Arabia on the opening day before facing Morocco (October 28), Tunisia (October 29), Kuwait (October 31) and Jordan (November 1) in the round-robin first phase.

Based on the league standings, the top two teams will play for gold and silver medals while the third and fourth-placed teams will fight it out for the bronze. All matches are scheduled for November 3.

QATAR TEAM

  • Saad Khalid Al Qassim
  • Ali Hamad Al Suwaidi
  • Abdullah Khalifa Al Jassim
  • Osama Aamir Ahmed
  • Yazn Emad Ayash
  • Adel Mohamed Alsafadi
  • Abdulla Mubarak Al Sulaiti
  • Mohamed Naser Eldous
  • Bader Khamis Al Shamali
  • Abdelrahman Hassan Alrashdiah
  • Saad Ismail
  • Mubarak Ahmed Al Sulaiti
  • Dhiaeddine Abderraouf Dhaouadi
  • Thenayan Khalifa Saeed
  • Abdulla Ali Aldosari
  • Jassim Mohammed Aldhaneem

Serbian coach Ivan Petkovic, who trained his nation’s top club side Dinamo Pancevo from 2014 until a few weeks ago, is in charge of the Qatar team and he seemed happy with the boys.

“The team was recently in Slovenia for a 10-day camp, and that was when I took charge. I’ve been with them for less than three weeks, but I’m impressed. This is our first appearance at the Arab event. My sole aim is to get a good idea of where our players stand at present,” the 43-year-old told Inside Qatar.

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Qatar will participate in the Arab Under-17 Championship for the first time. IQ Photo: Vinod Divakaran

“Our main target is to do well at the Asian Under-19 Championship, which will be held in July next year. We’ll use the Arab event as a reference point to build the team for it,” he added.

The under-17 team played four friendly matches in Slovenia against youth sides of clubs RK Gorenje Velenje, RK Slovenj Gradec and RK Maribor Branik, and Hungarian team Tatabanya KC. They won three games but lost to the older Maribor side.

Petkovic said that despite injury to some key players, they would still give their best in Tunisia.

“We’ll play six games in eight days, and that’ll test the team. We’ll miss some of our key players, who are injured. But we’ll have to play focused and disciplined handball and take it one game at a time,” he said.

He emphasised that his focus was on developing a team rather than individuals.

“I don’t need players who can score 10 goals in every match. My focus will be on building the team, as that’s what wins matches. The players have bonded well, and I’m hopeful they can put their best foot forward in Tunisia,” said Petkovic.