Courtesy: The AFC.comPreview: Matchday Two - Group DFriday, May 4, 2018
Bangkok: Uzbekistan will take their first steps in the AFC Women’s Futsal Championship in the knowledge that a win over Turkmenistan on Saturday will book their place in the Knockout Stage.UZBEKISTAN v TURKMENISTAN
With only three teams in Group D, a positive result against their Central Asian neighbours will secure a place in Wednesday’s quarter-finals, no matter what happens when they meet Islamic Republic of Iran on Monday.
Having seen reigning champions Iran put 14 goals past Turkmenistan, Maksumov said having the day off on Matchday One would benefit his side.
“Yes, I do believe that gives us an advantage to have the opportunity to watch our opponents and study them before our first match,” he said.
Uzbekistan reaching the Knockout Stage would be a first. They were led by Maksumov at the 2015 AFC Women’s Futsal Championship in Malaysia, facing group stage elimination after defeats to Iran and the host nation.
They are also a team with regular futsal experience. In a tournament where many teams feature a mixture of league futsal players and 11-a-sde footballers, Uzbekistan’s team divide their time between both formats.
“My players play futsal and also football,” Maksumov revealed.
“We play our futsal championship for only three months during winter and other than that we play football.
“We had only one week of preparation for this tournament but we have experience because we have participated before (in 2015), and we’ve changed players since then.”
Turkmenistan also remain in contention for the Knockout Stage, but Kamil Mingazov’s side will need to bounce back quickly after being outclassed by one of the tournament’s hot favourites in their first taste of tournament action.
“Iran are a very strong team so we actually expected that we would lose,” revealed former Turkmen football star Mingazov.
“In the changing room I didn’t shout. I just said to them ‘look guys, we played them and we struggled, but we move on’, and we will focus on our strengths in the next game.”
Despite the countries sharing a border, Mingazov said Uzbekistan’s absence from top level competition since 2015, and non-attendance in last year’s Asian Indoor Games women’s futsal tournament, makes them a difficult team to prepare for.
“We don’t have a lot of knowledge about our next opponents,” he said.
“We haven’t played against them in any games before and they weren’t in the competition last year in Ashgabat.”
Courtesy: The AFC.comPreview: Matchday Two - Group CFriday, May 4, 2018
Bangkok: Newcomers Lebanon will enter their match with China PR full of belief that they can beat the 2017 Asian Indoor Games semi-finalists, while Japan will look to build on their strong start against Bahrain on the second day of Group C action.LEBANON v CHINA PR
Lebanon were far from overawed in their first AFC Women’s Futsal Championship match against Japan, remaining competitive for the much of the contest before ultimately falling to a 5-1 defeat.
The performance was one to hearten head coach Maroun El Khoury, who believes his side have the ability to put themselves within touching distance of the Knockout Stage by beating Hu Jie’s China on Saturday.
“I was glad that we played the first game against Japan because we could see the level (of the tournament),” he said.
“We see that China are not at the level of Japan, so we aim to win the last two games so we can qualify for the quarter finals.”
A number of Lebanese players introduced themselves to the continental stage in impressive fashion against Japan, perhaps none more so than Rayane Rachid, who showed impressive technical ability and scored the side’s goal late in the first half.
El Khoury heaped praise on Rachid, and revealed she is a player of many talents.
“I think that Rayane was the best player for my team. She played for all 20 minutes in the second half and when she entered the court, we were better,” he said.”
“She has won all the leagues in Lebanon and she won the league this year. She’s also handball player for the national team.
“I was impressed with her performance, her fighting spirit and her fitness level, because she’s a teacher – a fitness teacher.”
China PR were impressive in earning a 5-2 win over Bahrain on Matchday One, but player of the match Zhang Yue believes her side have more to offer as the tournament progresses.
“I was a little bit surprised to be voted Most Valuable Player in the match, but the team performance was okay,” she said.
“While it was not 100 percent of what we wanted, it was okay because we got the three points.
“We have prepared well for the tournament and we’ll be doing our best in every match.”
A win for Zhang and her teammates will all but secure a place in the Knockout Stage, while a defeat against Lebanon is likely to mean they would need to beat Japan on Monday to keep their hopes alive.BAHRAIN v JAPAN
Japan began their AFC Women’s Futsal Championship campaign with a flourish, scoring three early goals before eventually closing out a 5-1 win over Lebanon.
Mika Eguchi, who got the ball rolling for the East Asians with a goal in the second minute, said little was known of their Lebanese opponents, who hadn’t played a competitive international fixture since 2012.
“I didn’t have any information in terms of past experience against their players, but we did prepare by watching match footage from the Lebanese league,” said the 23- year-old.
Japan – alongside Islamic Reoublic of Iran and Thailand - are among the favourites to lift the trophy on May 12, but Eguchi maintains she is taking the tournament one game at a time.
“This my first time participating in the national team, so I can’t imagine being a champion just yet, but I will make sure I will do my best in each match, with Bahrain next.”
Eguhci’s head coach, former men’s international and two-time AFC Futsal Championship winner Kenichiro Kogure, was satisfied with his team’s display, but expects a different type of challenge against a Bahrain side more accustomed to a full-size football pitch.
“In this tournament we have started well, now we hope to get better game by game,” he said.
“My impression is different between Lebanon and Bahrain. Bahrain is similar to more of a football style but I think Lebanon are more of a futsal team.”
That assessment was confirmed by Bahrain boss Elrashid Bukhari Ahmed, who called on his team to deliver a once in a lifetime performance against the 2015 runners-up.
“Our players are mainly an 11-a-side team, and we just recently converted to a futsal team to participate in this tournament,” he said.
“Japan are one of the best teams on the continent. We’ll just try to implement the same strategy as we did (against China).
“We’re just going to give it our all and fight to the very end.”
When asked about his team’s biggest strength, Ahmed’s response was unequivocal.
“Heart. Their ability to fight for the badge.”
Posted by Luca Ranocchiari