Carlos Queiroz sacked as Qatar coach ahead of AFC Asian Cup title defence

Queiroz has been replaced by Spanish coach Marques Lopez a month ahead of the AFC Asian Cup in Qatar.

Soccer Football - World Cup - AFC Qualifiers - Group A - Qatar v Afghanistan - Khalifa International Stadium, Doha, Qatar - November 16, 2023 Qatar coach Carlos Queiroz gives instructions to Moustafa Tarek and teammates during a break in play REUTERS/Ibraheem Al Omari
Carlos Queiroz has been let go by Qatar after leading them in 11 matches, which included four wins, four losses and three draws over a period of 10 months [File: Ibraheem Al Omari/Reuters]

AFC Asian Cup hosts and defending champions Qatar have sacked their men’s national team head coach Carlos Queiroz less than a year in to the role and six weeks ahead of the 2023 Asian Cup.

The experienced Portuguese coach and the Qatar Football Association (QFA) parted ways by “mutual agreement”, the QFA said in a statement on Wednesday.

“The Qatar Football Association has announced that Portuguese coach Carlos Queiroz’s tenure as head coach of the Qatar national team has ended amicably by mutual agreement between the two parties,” the statement said.

“The QFA expresses its sincere gratitude to coach Queiroz for his unwavering dedication, leadership, and contributions during his tenure as the head coach of the national team. We wish him success in his future endeavours.”

The QFA has named Spanish coach Marquez Lopez as Queiroz’s successor. He is currently in charge of Qatari football club Al-Wakrah.

“The coach will be in charge of the Qatar national team at the 2023 Asian Cup, which will be hosted in Qatar next year,” the QFA said while announcing his appointment.

“The QFA expresses gratitude and appreciation to Al-Wakrah Sports Club for their cooperation and consent in facilitating Coach Marquez Lopez’s appointment as the national team head coach for the upcoming period.”

Qatar hired Queiroz in February as replacement for Spaniard Felix Sanchez, who led the national team to their maiden Asian Cup triumph in the UAE in 2019 and was in charge of their group-stage finish at the home FIFA World Cup last year.

The widely experienced 70-year-old former Real Madrid and Manchester United (assistant) coach was handed a four-year contract and the task of ensuring Qatar’s qualification for the 2026 World Cup.

However, he was let go after leading Qatar in 11 matches, which included four wins, four losses and three draws over a period of 10 months. Two of these wins came in the 2026 World Cup qualifiers against Afghanistan (8-1) and India (3-0).

Quieroz’s departure comes six weeks ahead of Qatar’s title defence at the Asian Cup 2023, which kicks off on January 12 when the hosts take on Lebanon at Lusail Stadium, the venue of the 2022 World Cup final.

Middle Eastern teams Qatar and Lebanon are placed in group A along with Tajikistan and China in the Asian Cup, which runs from January 12 to February 10.

Source: Al Jazeera