SYRIA HOPES TO LIGHTEN UP MOOD BACK HOME (Muscat Daily)
Syria’s coach Fajer Ebrahim said his players are hoping to bring smiles on their fans’ faces with a win against Singapore in their Group E 2018 World Cup qualifier at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex on Thursday. The match begins at 8pm.
Singapore tops the group with four points from two matches, while Syria is second with three points from one match.
Ebrahim told Muscat Daily on Wednesday, Muscat is our second home and we are happy to be here to play. Our country has been affected badly by the conflict for the past couple of years. But my players are like a family, which makes it easy for me to get the best out of them despite our country’s woes.
We were very happy after our 6-0 win against Afghanistan in Mashad, Iran. But Singapore is going to be a different challenge. They have a good coach in Bernd Stange, who led the team to a goalless away draw against much fancied Japan in Saitama. We respect them, but we will look for an outright win.
The Syria coach, who has been with the team for a second spell since the start of the year, said, I have known these players for long. To play for our country is like doing a national duty.
We will be happy to win and bring back smiles on the faces of our fans. We have big dreams and we hope to achieve them.
Syria captain Sanharib Malki said the ‘key to the match against Singapore will be to score early’.
We are facing difficult times, but all our players are united in sharing the joy and the sorrow. This is what gives us strength, he said.
Singapore’s German coach Stange was upbeat ahead of the Syria game and said that the draw against Japan in front of 60,000 spectators in Saitama has given his boys new-found belief and they will be happy to even take a point from Thursday’s match.
He said, It is a dream to snatch a point against Japan in Japan and the draw has boosted my players’ confidence. We know that Syria is a strong team, but a point will put us in the driver’s seat in the group.