Attacking midfielder Khalfan Ibrahim was recalled on Tuesday for Qatar’s Asian Cup squad but striker Sebastian Soria missed out on selection.
Ibrahim missed last month’s successful Gulf Cup campaign due to injury but, having played in Al Sadd’s past two games in the Qatar Stars League, including a start in Friday’s 3-2 victory over Al Kharitiyath, the 26-year-old has done enough to convince coach Djamel Belmadi of his fitness.
The tricky playmaker’s last international appearance came in October when he scored the winner in a 1-0 friendly triumph over Australia, the tournament hosts.
With 81 international caps to his name, Ibrahim is one of the most experienced players Belmadi can call upon but experience has not counted in favour of Soria.
The Uruguay-born forward notched 100 caps in October’s friendly with Uzbekistan – before making it 101 against Australia – and scored his 29th international goal against the Central Asians, while Soria has five goals in 14 games for Lekhwiya in the 2014-15 Stars League.
Instead Belmadi has picked two of Soria’s domestic team-mates – Moustapha Tresor Kangambu and Ismaeel Mohammad – plus Al Sadd’s Hassan Al Haidos and Meshal Abdulla of Al Ahli as his forward options.
Al Haidos has been the most prolific in the Stars League with seven goals in 15 games this term, closely followed by Mohammad and Abdulla (both six in 15), while uncapped winger Kangambu appears unlikely to offer much goal-scoring threat having yet to hit the back of the net for Lekhwiya.
Midfielder Ali Asadullah, who top-scored for Qatar at the Gulf Cup with two goals, has also been picked, as has goalkeeper of the tournament Qasem Burhan.
Qatar have been grouped with Iran, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain.
Belmadi’s side will start their campaign against UAE in Canberra on January 11, before taking on Iran and Bahrain in Sydney.
Squad in full:
Goalkeepers: Saad Al Sheeb (Al Sadd), Ahmed Sufyan (El Jaish), Qasem Burhan (Al Gharafa)
Defenders: Ahmadi Ali Mukhtar (Al Sadd), Abdelkarim Hassan (Al Sadd), Ibrahim Majid (Al Sadd), Mohammed Musa (Lekhwiya), Khalid Muftah (Lekhwiya), Abdulrahman Issa (El Jaish), Bilal Mohammed (Al Gharafa)
Midfielders: Khalfan Ibrahim (Al Sadd), Ali Assadalla (Al Sadd), Karim Boudiaf (Lekhwiya), Mohammed Muntari (El Jaish), Majed Mohammed (El Jaish), Khaled Al Zereiqi (El Jaish), Boualem Khoukhi (Al Arabi), Abdulaziz Hatem (Al Arabi), Ahmed Abdul Maqsood (Umm Salal)
Forwards: Hassan Al Haidos (Al Sadd), Ismaeel Mohammad (Lekhwiya), Mohammed Tresor Abdullah (Lekhwiya), Meshal Abdullah (Al Ahli)
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