Carlos Queiroz sacked by Qatar after 11 games in charge

The National understands Portuguese coach flew to Doha on Monday when he was told that his contract was to be terminated

Carlos Queiroz was appointed manager of Qatar in February 2023. Reuters
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Carlos Queiroz has been sacked as manager of the Qatar national team, a position he only took in February when he signed a four-year contract.

The National understands that Queiroz was contacted by the Qatar Football Association last week, who told him that his contract would be terminated. The Portuguese coach, 70, flew to Doha on Monday, where the decision was confirmed face-to-face.

He was in charge for 11 games, winning four, drawing three and losing four after replacing Felix Sanchez as manager. It means Qatar will have to appoint a new manager for the delayed 2023 Asian Cup which they are hosting and takes place January 12-February 10, 2024.

"The Qatar Football Association has announced that Portuguese coach Carlos Queiroz's tenure as head coach of the Qatar national team has ended amicably by mutual agreement between the two parties," the QFA said in a statement on Tuesday.

"The QFA expresses its sincere gratitude to coach Queiroz for his unwavering dedication, leadership, and contributions during his tenure as the head coach of the national team. We wish him success in his future endeavours."

Replacing Queiroz as manager will be Spanish coach Marquez Lopez, who is currently in charge of Qatari club side Al-Wakrah, and will have little time to put his stamp on the squad before the delayed 2023 Asian Cup.

Qatar took over hosting duties for the tournament, which takes place January 12-February 10 next year, due to the impact of the Covid pandemic on original hosts China.

The former Real Madrid and Portugal coach, who has worked extensively across the world, was given the task of renewing an ageing team that had performed poorly in the World Cup they hosted, losing all three group-stage games.

He was also tasked with leading Qatar to qualification for the 2026 World Cup. Queiroz had already excelled in Asian football with Iran, guiding them to two World Cups.

Queiroz took his staff to the Middle East and scouted talents from a domestic league which is short of Qatari players at international level.

He had concerns and expressed his thoughts to those in power but Queiroz still brought new players through, giving debuts to several players.

His plan was to develop the team and give opportunities to younger prospects in friendly games for them to get international experience. He took the side to the Gold Cup, where they recorded a first win over Mexico – a top 10 Fifa-ranked team.

He started his Word Cup campaign with two wins against Afghanistan and India. In Qatar, the local media are saying that Queiroz has a defensive approach to the game and that he made little use of the Aspire Academy in Doha, which was founded in 2004 with the aim of developing local athletes.

Queiroz is a demanding coach. He pushes for improvements and his style is not for everyone which led to clashes when he was in charge of Iran. But he was a success and he has not been given the same opportunity to show what he can do with Qatar.

Updated: December 07, 2023, 2:56 AM