Iraqi coach Katanec hopes for winning return to UAE


Iraqi coach Katanec hopes for winning return to UAE
Vietnam players attend a training session in preparation for their Group D match against Iraq on Tuesday.

Abu Dhabi - Katanec took charge of Iraq national side four months back

By Ashwani Kumar

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Published: Mon 7 Jan 2019, 9:29 PM

Last updated: Mon 7 Jan 2019, 11:36 PM

Srecko Katanec, Iraq head coach, is happy to be back in the UAE where he had coached the national side for two years from 2009.
"It's nice to be here in the UAE after 5-6 years," Katanec said ahead of the AFC Asian Cup Group D clash against Vietnam. And the Slovenian is eager to start on a winning note.
"First game is always important be it at the World Cup or the Asian Cup. We are prepared well, had a good camp and now ready to begin. It is important to win the first game. Our ambition is to go game-by-game. We will try to win every game. And if you do that, you know what is there at the end."
Katanec took charge of Iraq national side four months back and is happy with team composition.
"We have a mix of experienced and young players. But we are not under pressure."
Even though Katanec is confident about the abilities of his players, he is equally wary about Vietnam.
"Every game is a different story. We need to keep good team spirit and fight. We have quality and if our players give everything then we will play one good game. I respect Vietnam. I am not naive."
Iraq had previously won the Asian Cup in 2007 but Katanec isn't one who lives in the past or care about records. "I don't have any player from 2007 squad. This is a new generation and new story," the coach added.
Iraqi defender Ahmed Ibrahim noted that upset win by Jordan over Australia was a lesson for everyone.
"Those results prove that all players need to play responsibly."
Ibrahim said the players had prepared hard for two weeks.
"We are all motivated to win three points. We know the kind of football Vietnam play. They are quick on the ball. It will be a good game for both of us," he added.

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