August 29 – Asian Cup winning coach Felix Sanchez has been tasked with leading Qatar to the Tokyo Olympic Games, having been handed the responsibility over the country’s U-23 team.
In a statement the Qatar Football Association (QFA) said that the “QFA’s executive committee has decided to appoint Felix Sanchez as the head coach of the Olympic national team. The Spaniard will replace his compatriot Albert Fernandez, and will also remain at the helm of the senior national team, a position he has held since July 2017.”
In January, Thailand will stage the U-23 AFC Championship, a 16-team tournament that will serve as qualifiers for the Olympic football tournament with three places for Tokyo at stake. As hosts of the 2020 Olympic Games, Japan qualify automatically for the tournament.
Last January Sanchez led Qatar to a historic maiden Asian-Cup win in the United Arab Emirates. The Qatari defeated among others South Korea, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the hosts en route to the final where they toppled Japan 3-1 in a tournament that was earmarked by geopolitical tensions over the Saudi-led blockade of Qatar.
In May, the QFA extended Sanchez’s contract until 2022, the year Qatar will stage the World Cup, ending speculation that a big-name coach would step in as the main tournament draws near. Sanchez then took his charges to the Copa America in Brazil where they finished bottom of a group with Argentina, Paraguay and Colombia.
Sanchez, 43, has a storied history in Qatar, having worked at the Aspire Academy before leading Qatar to victory at the AFC U-19 Championship in 2014.
The 2020 Olympic football tournament will be played from July 22 to August 8 in seven stadiums across six Japanese host cities. In 2016, Brazil won the gold medal on home soil after defeating Germany in a dramatic penalty shoot-out.
Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1569037183labto1569037183ofdlr1569037183owedi1569037183sni@o1569037183fni1569037183