We have quality players, says Maldives coach Popov

MALE: The Maldives has the players to deliver the goods against
visiting Qatar, coach Velizar Popov said on Wednesday.

Qatar take on hosts Maldives at National Stadium as the two sides
launch their 2018 FIFA World Cup and 2019 Asian Cup qualifying
campaigns on Thursday.

Popov said Maldives are aware of the challenge Qatar bring with them
as the two teams lock horns in their first Group C clash.

He said his side has ‘strong players who have improved a lot in the
last two years.

“Qatar team also has quality players who can play well and make a
difference to the end result,” Popov was quoted as saying in a chat
with local media.

“They also have a very good coach,” he added.

The Maldives coach said he viewed recent games played by Qatar,
pointing out that, in spite of an early exit at this year’s Asian Cup
in Australia, the Maroons had ‘quality’.

Popov said Qatar had played a string of quality friendlies against
Algeria and Slovenia in March prior to taking on Scotland last week.

Popov said Maldives will do its best to ‘achieve the best possible result’.

He said Maldives must use home advantage against Qatar to kick start a
good qualifying campaign.

“Qatar team is the favorite to win but we will try to exploit home
advantage and do our best in order to achieve the best possible
result,” he said.

Popov Maldives is aware of the ‘big challenges’ facing his side in the
two qualifying campaigns.

He said there were Maldives stood to gain a lot by playing ‘top sides’.

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