The Afghan National Football Team has arrived in Qatar for a training camp ahead of their match against Japan in the 2018 World Cup qualifying rounds.
The captain, Faisal Shaista, and six other players left Kabul for Doha, while 19 others flew in from Europe and the U.S, where they play for foreign teams.
Afghanistan will face Japan on their home ground at Saitama Stadium on March 24 and will then host Singapore in Tehran on March 29. Shaista said the team knows now why "we lost the first match to Japan." "The team now knows their mistakes in the first match against Japan. However, Japan is a powerful team but we will try to have a good match against them but we have to win the match against Singapore which can help us in the Asia Cup which will be held in 2019," he said.
Ali Askar Lali, the team's assistant coach, said that new players have been invited to join the team ahead of the Japan and Singapore matches. "We have invited new faces to the team and they have training before the matches.
We will have five days of training in Qatar and then we will go to Japan to play against them," he said. "We will also host Singapore four days after the Japan match," he added.
Afghanistan beat Cambodia in the first and second leg 0-1 and 3-0, respectively in Group E. But they lost to Singapore 1-0 and were beaten by Japan 0-6. Afghanistan is playing in Group E with Japan, Syria, Singapore and Cambodia and is currently in fourth place. Afghanistan has already qualified for the Asia Cup championships but still need to play Japan and Singapore.