The tournament is introduced in a time where many have been questioning the state of Qatar’s football performance.
Qatar under-23 (U23) coach Bruno Pinheiro has called up his 23-man junior squad that will partake in the International U23 Friendly Championship, which will be hosted by the Qatar Football Association (QFA) later this March.
Competing in a regional roundhouse, Qatar will contend alongside the likes of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Iraq, United Arab Emirates, Thailand, Kyrgyzstan, South Korea and Vietnam.
Held across Qatar’s stadiums, the young stars will kick off their campaign on 22nd March against the UAE, at Abdullah bin Khalifa Stadium in Al Duhail.
Appearing to get an early lead for the upcoming AFC U23 Asian Cup 2024, Qatar’s youth sides have fallen short of achieving the success that once was.
Despite advancing to the final of the West Asia U23 Football Championship for the first time, the country’s youth teams have failed to produce continuous success on the pitch.
Recently, Qatar’s U-20 squad was humbled in the quarter-finals of the AFC Asian Cup by Australia.
Losing 9-1, the squad that will represent Qatar in next year’s Asian Cup has diminished harshly, leaving local fans doubting the state of the national teams.
“Sending some players to train with European clubs a few months ahead of the tournament didn’t help. Qatar’s youth sides failed to produce anything near what Felix Sanchez’s team achieved in 2014,” journalist Mohamed El Gharbawy wrote on his social media account.
Other accounts have cited that the results of several tournaments display a plunge in the country’s football capacities.
“The rapid decline of Qatari football? – Decimation at the World Cup – Al-Duhail’s 7-0 defeat in the #ACL2022 – 9-1 defeat to Australia at the #AFCU20, eliminated without a win. It’s been coming though; exiting winless at the last two #AFCU23, pretty poor at the recent Gulf Cup,” football commentator Martin Lowe wrote.
Coach Pinheiro will undoubtedly be pressured to create a successful result at home with his selection of QNB Stars League and Second Division players.
The International U23 Friendly Championship will run from the 22-28 March.