AFC Asian Cup 2019: Team Preview Syria
Syria would look to secure a place in the quarter-finals for the first time in the history of the Asian Championships. German coach Stange, who named an experienced squad, would be without the services of their experienced captain Firas Al-Khatib.
With only five players from the current squad with less than ten internationals to their name, Syria would hope their experience would come in handy to book them a place in the knockouts.
Syria did not qualify for the 2015 Asia Cup after finishing third in Group A behind Oman and Jordan in the qualification stage.
At the 2011 Championships in Qatar, they made a bright start defeating Saudi Arabia in their initial game. They suffered consecutive defeats against Japan and Jordan to finish eleventh. Abdelrazaq Al Hussain scored two goals for the Qasioun Eagles.
Syria made their Asian Cup debut in Kuwait 1980. With a 39% win percentage, they have recorded seven victories from 18 games including two draws and nine defeats. The Emirates Asian Cup embraces a spectacular chance for the Qasioun Eagles to enter the last sixteen for the first time in the country‘s history.
Syria engaged in eight international games in 2018 as a lead up to the Asian Cup in 2019. They barely managed victories against Bahrain and Kuwait and lost a couple more to Kyrgyzstan and China. They drew their four other encounters against Asian opponents. Their final warm-up game is against Yemen on December 30th in Abu Dhabi before they embark on their Asian Cup campaign.
Omar Kharbin became the first player from Syria to collect the AFC Player of the Year award in 2017. Playing for Al-Hilal in the Saudi Professional League, he has registered 14 goals this season from 26 appearances. He also recorded ten goals in the FIFA World Cup Asian qualifiers before losing the play-off against Australia.
Twenty-six-year-old midfielder Mahmoud Al Mawas is the most experienced Syrian player in the squad with 54 international caps to his name. Playing for Umm-Salal Sports Club in the Qatar professional league, he has recorded eight goals for Syria and would play a crucial role for them during their Asian Cup campaign.
Sunday, 06 January 2019: Syria (74) vs Palestine (99) - Sharjah Stadium, Sharjah at 21:30 IST.
Thursday, 10 January 2019: Syria (74) vs Jordan (109) - Khalifa Bin Zayed Stadium, Al Ain at 19:00 IST.
Tuesday, 15 January 2019: Syria (74) vs Australia (41) - Khalifa Bin Zayed Stadium, Al Ain at 19:00 IST.
Syria enjoys a 10-7 head-to-head record against Jordan and should come out victors against their West Asian rivals. They should storm through Palestine before encountering a daunting challenge against a strong Australian squad.
Their likely opponent in the last sixteen will be Uzbekistan, and the winner would play against Emirates in the Quarters.
Average Age: 27 years.
International Caps: 596.
International Goals: 53.
Head Coach: Bernd Stange (Germany)
Goalkeepers: Ibrahim Alma (Al Wahda), Mahmoud Al Youssef (Al Jabalain), Ahmad Madania (Al Jaish).
Defenders: Ahmad Al Salih (Al Ahed), Moayad Ajan (Al Jazeera), Jehad Al Baour (Al Riffa), Omar Midani (Pyramids), Amro Jenyat (Al Shabab), Hussein Jwayed (Al Zawraa), Nadim Sabagh (Tishreen), Abdul Malek Anezan (Al Jaish).
Midfielders: Mahmoud Al Mawas (Umm Salal), Mohammed Osman (Heracles Almelo), Osama Omari (Qatar SC), Tamer Haj Mohamad (Ohod), Ahmad Ashkar (Al Jaish), Youssef Kalfa (Al Hazem), Zaher Midani (Air Force Club), Khaled Al Mobayed (Al Wahda), Fahd Youssef (Al Sailiya).
Strikers: Omar Khribin (Al Hilal), Omar Al Somah (Al Ahli), Mardik Mardikian (Al Jazeera).Published 27 Dec 2018, 20:21 IST