After a disappointing 2015 AFC Asian cup campaign, Qatar captain Hasan Al Haydos is looking to drive the Gulf Cup champions to greater success in the joint qualifiers for the 2018 FIFA World Cup and 2019 AFC Asian Cup, a campaign which the forward insists could be the most important ever for the 2022 FIFA World Cup hosts.
Ismail Ahmed was ever-present as Al Ain reached the semi-finals of the 2014 AFC Champions League, an achievement that helped earn the towering centre-back second place in the voting for AFC Player of the Year. And having successfully cemented his spot for the United Arab Emirates, Ahmed is eagerly anticipating his first taste of the AFC Asian cup.
Qatar arrive in Australia as the newly crowned Gulf Cup champions hoping to build on their run to the quarterfinals at the AFC Asian cup in 2011. And helmed by coach Djamel Belmadi who has enjoyed stellar success in four years in Qatari football, optimism is high ahead of the continental championship in January.
Nassir Al Shamrani was named 2014 AFC Player of the Year having fired Al Hilal to the final of the AFC Champions League. And having been the leading Asian scorer in the continental tournament, as well as top marksman in the Saudi Arabian top flight for the fifth time in seven years, Al Shamrani’s eye for goal is now fixed on the AFC Asian cup Australia 2015.
Having scored goals at every youth level of AFC competition, Iran forward Kaveh Rezaei says he is ready to make his mark on the senior national team with his eyes firmly fixed on the 2015 AFC Asian Cup in Australia after topping the scoring charts at the AFC U-22 Championship.
After Iraq’s 2007 AFC Asian Cup victory received worldwide acclaim, the once war-ravaged nation again claimed global headlines as a semi-final appearance at last year’s FIFA U-20 World Cup brought a new generation of stars to the forefront, with coach Hakeem Shakir central to the rebuilding process.