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Nov 26 - Dec 8, 2019
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Qatar to play India, Australia and China in friendlies

Asia’s top teams to play in Doha as part of their preparation for the Asian Volleyball Championship in Tehran.
Qatar National Volleyball Team 1
Members of Qatar national volleyball team during a training session at the Al Arabi Sports Club. File IQ Photo: Vinod Divakaran

Qatar take on India, Australia and China in a series of friendly matches from Monday in preparation for the Asian Volleyball Championship to be held in Teheran from September 13 to 21.

The Teheran competition is the preliminary test for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics qualifiers. Eight teams from the Tehran event will make it to the 2020 Men’s Asian Continental Olympic Qualification Tournament in January. The venue for this tournament is yet to be decided. Only the winners of this tournament earn a ticket to Tokyo.

Given the important assignment ahead, the Qatar Volleyball Association has decided to line up some strong opponents for the national team, ahead of the Tehran trip. They have invited three top outfits in the continent – India, Australia and China – to help their players get into the competitive mode.

“We’re up against some quality opposition in these matches. It’ll help us prepare our team for the sterner tests ahead. The Asian Championship is a very important event for us in our bid to qualify for the Olympics,” said Qatar coach Camilo Soto.

The Argentinian also pointed to the fact that since they were grouped with Australia in Teheran, the friendly matches would help gauge their opponents.

Qatar play twice against India on September 2 and 3, and China on September 5 and 7. Their one-off clash with Australia is scheduled for September 6. All the matches will be played at the Al Arabi Sports Club.

India are coached by Serbian Dragan Mihailovic, who took charge of the team in May this year. Also accompanying the team is E Sreedharan, former national player and coach.

China, coached by Argentine Raul Lozano, are expected to arrive in Doha on Wednesday. Lozano has many titles to his credit including an FIVB Club World Championship with Italian Club Volley Milano in 1991 and a World Volleyball Championship silver with Poland in 2006.

Australia are coached by their former international Mark Lebdew. They are expected to be in Doha on Thursday.