Almutairi’s immediate plan is to lift Nepal’s FIFA rankingThe mercurial coach who has signed a new contract until 2024 says he also aims to take Nepal to pot three from existing pot four of the AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers.
Nepal national football team coach Abdullah Almutairi said on Tuesday that his immediate plan is to improve the country’s FIFA rankings and finish at least in the third position in the third round of the AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers.
The Kuwaiti, who recently signed a new contract until 2024 as his previous agreement was due to expire on September 2022, said that his first phase plan was also to jump in pot three from the pot four for the Qualifiers which are based on the rankings of the respective teams
The draw for the third round of the tournament is likely to be made in February next year. The participating 24 teams in the group rounds will be divided into six groups of four teams each. The winners of all groups and five best runners up teams will qualify for the 2023 finals.
While the highest ranked teams are placed in pot one, the lowest ranked teams are placed in pot four. "If we play and win two international friendlies in January FIFA window and the lowest ranked team — Singapore — came up with poor results in the AFF Championship scheduled for December, we have a chance to climb to pot three," said Almutairi at his first press conference after the contract extension.
He also said that he has three phase plans for the national team, but revealed only his first phase plans. Almutairi also unveiled his training plans for the national team for 2022.
The mercurial coach, who announced his resignation thrice in the six months since his appointment as Nepal's head coach in April, said that the true love from the people of Nepal made him change his mind. "It is the true love from the people of Nepal, from the players of the national team, team members and All Nepal Football Association officials that changed my mind," said Almutairi.
The last time he announced resignation from the hot seat was after Nepal's entry to the final of SAFF Championship on October 13. But he did not stick to his words for more than three days as he said he would 'take rest for a few days and think about it following Nepal's 3-0 final defeat against India on October 16.
It was the maiden final appearance of Nepal in the sub continental football tournament in 28 years since the event's inception in 1993. And the Kuwaiti is credited for guiding the team to the final. He however, again threatened to leave again if he did not feel comfortable.
"I will stay in Nepal, as long as I can. Of course I am human and if I don't feel comfortable, I will not stay," he said while urging the media to analyse the team on the basis of the team's performance rather than focusing on his personal issues.
Almutairi, who has had a difficult relationship with the media, also urged media persons not to criticise national team players. "Don't write negative about players," said Almutairi who is sent to Nepal under grant by the Qatar Football Association (QFA). His salary is paid by the QFA.