Qatar is peparing to honour its nationwide soccer crew with a steet parade in Doha following the Gulf nation’s upset victory on the AFC Asian Cup within the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The Maroons are set to land at Doha’s outdated airport at 15:30 GMT on Saturday, the place the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani is predicted to welcome the crew.
The gamers and entourage will then be paraded by means of the capital’s Corniche to Sheraton Park within the metropolis’s high-rise West Bay space, the place the Qatar Soccer Affiliation, in a Twitter publish, referred to as on followers to assemble.
The Qatari crew will arrive in Doha by way of Oman, as direct flights between Qatar and Asian Cup host UAE stay banned because of an almost two-year blockade imposed on Doha by its Gulf neighbours.
Qatari soccer followers had been barred from attending the match due to the bitter political rift and their nationwide crew was pressured to play nearly completely with out supporters. Within the match towards the UAE, a hostile native crowd hurled footwear and water bottles on the Qatari gamers.
Qatar’s beautiful 3-1 win over the four-time champions Japan in Abu Dhabi marked the nation’s largest soccer achievement but, which set off impromptu road parades in Doha on Friday.
The capital’s streets had been gridlocked with automobiles as residents and residents draped in Qatar’s maroon and white flag slung themselves out of automotive home windows or hopped on to rooftops, horns blaring in celebration.
Qatari fan Ahmed al-Kaabi described the Maroons as “heroes”.
“That is the primary continental cup we’ve taken and it is regardless of all of the stress that was placed on this crew, which simply proves that they’re heroes,” he mentioned in Doha.
The Asian Cup victory will give Qatar renewed hope of with the ability to compete towards the globe’s greatest groups when it participates for the primary time within the World Cup – as hosts – in 2022.
|Followers described Qatari gamers as “heroes” after the beautiful win towards Japan [Noushad Thekkayil/EPA]|
“Right now we made historical past for our nation, we have to be very proud about our achievement,” mentioned Qatar coach Felix Sanchez.
“That is one step extra in the direction of being prepared for 2022 and symbolize Qatar as a really aggressive crew on the World Cup.”
‘We wrote historical past’
Qatar raced into the lead when Almoez Ali put the ball into the online with a spectacular bicycle kick within the 12th minute.
Ali’s early aim, his ninth within the match, took him previous Iranian Ali Daei’s 1996 tally. And mixed with a 27th-minute long-distance strike from Abdulaziz Hatem and a late Akram Afif penalty, it helped the Qataris declare their first continental title.
Sudan-born Ali’s document aim got here after a protest by the UAE into his eligibility to symbolize Qatar was dismissed by the Asian Soccer Confederation (AFC) just a few hours earlier than kickoff.
“Qatar immediately is a prime Asian crew,” goalkeeper Saad Al Sheeb mentioned. “We wrote historical past.”
After upsetting the ultimate favourites, the gamers wrapped themselves in Qatari flags in a show of patriotic furore.
|Qatar’s Asian Cup win marks the nation’s largest soccer achievement [Roslan Rahman/AFP]|
“This end result would not come from nothing,” mentioned defender Bassam al-Rawi, the opposite participant whose eligibility was questioned by the UAE.
“It got here with a number of effort. It got here from dedication. It got here from immense exhausting work on the pitch. We had been in a position to win immediately as a result of we took all the possibilities.”
The victory was additionally celebrated wildly by hundreds of Omanis who had turned out to help Qatar within the absence of their very own followers.
|Qatari followers had been barred from attending the match within the UAE [Karim Jaafar/AFP]|
Since becoming a member of different Arab nations in chopping diplomatic, financial and journey ties with Doha in 2017, the UAE has warned residents that expressing sympathy for Qatar may result in fines and imprisonment.
The UAE is amongst a quartet of countries accusing its regional foe of supporting “terrorism”, which Qatar denies, and even prevented the crew from travelling on to Abu Dhabi for the match.
After their beautiful win, the Maroons travelled to Sohar in Oman by way of bus, the place they had been greeted by a whole lot of cheering followers, based on movies posted on social media.
Al Jazeera’s Andy Richardson, reporting from Doha, mentioned: “It is exhausting to overstate the extent of feat that the Qatar crew has pulled off. They got here into this match with none actual monitor document of success on the Asian Cup.”
“There have been indicators of a younger crew on the rise even forward of this success. The overwhelming majority of this crew got here by means of the Aspire Nationwide Academy right here in Qatar – a vastly formidable undertaking arrange in 2004 to establish and nurture younger expertise,” he added.
Al Jazeera and information companies