Thursday, April 19, 2018 | ePaper

Qatar coach in shock 'resignation' after win

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AFP, Doha :
Qatar national coach Jorge Fossati stunned his own federation by apparently resigning moments after his team beat South Korea to keep the Gulf nation's slim World Cup hopes alive.
As a press conference ended early Wednesday morning after the 3-2 win, Fossati thanked the Qatari people and journalists in what sounded like a goodbye speech.
Asked by stunned journalists if the game in Doha was his last as national coach, he replied: "Most probably."
Following the press conference and cornered outside the Jassim bin Hamad Stadium, where his team had just won to retain the slimmest of hopes of qualifying for Russia, Fossati told reporters it was time for a change.
"If the federation agrees, I don't want to stand in anybody's way.
"I don't like to leave the national team but sometimes you must do what you think is right, not what is best for you," he said.
"You cannot put yourself ahead of everybody."
He added that Qatari football officials needed to put a long-term plan in place for its development as a football nation.
His announcement seemed to surprise even his own federation.
It was announced on Twitter that Qatar Football Association boss Hamad Bin Khalifa Bin Ahmed Al-Thani was "surprised" by Fossati's remarks and would only make a final decision after speaking to the Uruguayan.
To muddy the waters a little further, Fossati said he would be willing to help the national team in any capacity if asked.
"I love Qatar, I want the best for Qatar."
If he does leave, Felix Sanchez, the under-23 coach is thought to be among the favourites to take over.
Fossati has only been coach of the national team since September last year.
It is his second stint in charge of the national team.
He took over after a dismal start to the final AFC qualifying round for Russia 2018.
Having lost their two first games in Group A, Fossati took over and Qatar now have seven points from eight games.
His record has been mixed.
They have won two, drawn once and lost three times in the qualifying campaign under Fossati but despite that still implausibly have an outside chance of qualifying for Russia.
They need to win their last two games and hope Uzbekistan lose theirs to reach the play-offs for next summer's competition.  Qatar, who will host the 2022 tournament, have never qualified for the World Cup finals.

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