Earlier this week, Qatar upset CONCACAF favourites Mexico to advance to the Gold Cup quarterfinals.
Ahead of their Gold Cup quarterfinal fixture against Panama, Qatar’s Al Annabi highlighted the advantages of competing in the CONCACAF tournament and how it better prepares them for the upcoming FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifiers and Asian Cup campaigns.
Speaking on behalf of the team, midfielder Ahmed Fathi defined the current Gold Cup campaign as a critical moment for the team’s future.
“The Gold Cup tournament is important for us. It’s a wonderful experience for everyone, particularly the young faces,” said Fathi.
“We will start our World Cup qualifiers campaign [this November] and then defend our Asian Cup title [early next year]. It’s our dream to achieve success in our two major challenges, and the Gold Cup will help us gain more experience before these events,” the veteran footballer added.
Competing with Qatar’s national team since 2017, Fathi is one of the few veteran players in the Gold Cup crusade as forward Ahmed Alaaeldin is absent due to injury.
“I am doing my best to live up to expectations and will continue to work hard to help my team,” Fathi said in his role with the Qatari squad.
“We have only cleared the first hurdle by reaching the quarterfinals. We have high ambitions in the knockout stage, and all players are looking forward to give their best. We will miss some players owing to suspensions [injuries], but we are confident,” he added.
In a must-win match against Mexico, the Qatari-led Carlos Queiroz side achieved the unimaginable, defeating the most successful team in the tournament’s history with a lone goal.
Seen as a game of bad luck for the Mexicans, Qatar’s only shot led to a goal, while Mexico recorded a 77% possession against the Maroons with 25 shots, six of which landed on target.
In 2021, Qatar and the Central Americans finished in a 3-3 draw with goals by Akram Afif, Al Moez Ali, and Hassan Al Haydos.
Facing Panama for a second time, this year’s match will be held in Dallas’s AT&T Stadium on 8 July.