Jordan lodged a formal protest yesterday after claiming a bungled doping test had made one of their players vomit.
Striker Ahmad Hayel could miss tomorrow’s game against Palestine after he was made to drink “several litres of water” as a result of being unable to provide a urine sample following Monday’s 1-0 defeat by Iraq.
It caused him to vomit and feel dizzy, according to the Jordanian FA and a team doctor said the test had to be cancelled.
The AFC insisted that the proper protocol had been followed, but Jordanian FA general secretary Fadi Zureikat said: “Ahmad Hayel arrived at the hotel after the doping test (in a) semi-coma, and with hypothermia. The doping control room was too cold. The player was given water to drink for four hours.
“Hayel began vomiting (and received) no medical care presence from the AFC. No ambulance was called for the player. He was suffering low blood pressure, and we had to take the player back to the hotel by private car, in a wheelchair, while he was unconscious.”
Jordan must beat Palestine to stay in the competition, while Japan can tie up top spot in the group with a win over Iraq.
But star player Keisuke Honda is taking nothing for granted. He said: “If we keep battling and go about things the right way the results will follow. We just need to focus on taking three points (against Iraq).”
Coach Djamel Belmadi deflected questioning about his future with trigger-happy Qatar as they face a must-win Group C game against heavyweights Iran at the Asian Cup.
The Algerian won the Gulf Cup with the future World Cup hosts in November but his Asian Cup plans threaten to unravel after last week’s 4-1 reverse to neighbours UAE.
Despite the Gulf Cup triumph Belmadi, who was appointed last March, will be aware of Qatar’s itchy trigger finger with 30 different coaches taking the hot seat since 1990.
“You would have to ask the Qatari football federation,” he said.
“I’m talking about the game ( against Iran). I don’t have anything to say about that.”
Belmadi said his biggest job had been to lift Qatar’s downcast players after they lost big to UAE despite opening the scoring through Khalfan Ibrahim.
“We played like a friendly game. It wasn’t our day. Especially after the good competition we had at the Gulf Cup, we expected something different,” he said.
“But now it’s in the past and we need a reaction. Of course we are all disappointed and the players more than anyone. They
have now the ambition to make a different game.”
Belmadi added that it was a “decisive” match for Qatar against Carlos Queiroz’s Iran, but said the task was not beyond his players.
“I know this group that I have. I chose them and I know that we are able to change things and I know that we can do much much better, even when things look difficult, for some people impossible. For us it’s not impossible,” he said.
Queiroz revealed he would not rotate his squad as he seeks to build some momentum.
“This will be the opportunity also to establish and keep the core of the team because we’ve not been playing so much,” said the Iran coach.
“Most of the players played for the first time together in the game against Bahrain so I need to take advantage of that situation.”
Despite a perfect start and a 4-1 win over Qatar in Group C, UAE coach Mahdi Ali has told his players he expects an improved display against Bahrain today in the same Canberra Stadium.
If Qatar fail to defeat Iran in Sydney, a win for the UAE means a place in the last eight but Ali is more concerned by his team’s level.
“We don’t want to speak about quarter-finals or semi-finals as we have an important game and we have to think about that,” said the
“There are no easy games and I hope we give a better performance than we have in our first game.”
Ali has no injuries to concern him but is a little wary of a Bahrain team he feels are better than their dysfunctional reputation.
Marjan Eid is their third coach in six months, but Al-Ahmar looked reasonably solid in their opening 2-0 defeat to Iran.
Ali said: “We are playing against the team, not the coach. Bahrain have changed from two years to today, the way of playing has
changed. They played a good game against Iran and only conceded two off corners. They have a good team.”
Despite the fact that Bahrain need at least a draw in Canberra, UAE defender Walid Abbas is not expecting an offensive onslaught from a team that failed to score a single goal at the recent Gulf Cup, finishing bottom of their group.
“I don’t think that Bahrain will gamble, they are going to play with caution,” he said. “I hope that we take all our chances to score goals.”
With Ahmed Khalil and Ali Mabkhout scoring twice each against Qatar, the UAE go into the clash with their strikers in top form.
Mabkhout’s brace makes it seven goals in his last six caps.
While coach Ali was visibly bored with another question from the Australian media about star player Omar Abdulrahman, who did his continental reputation no harm with an impressive display on Sunday, he was happy to laud the qualities of one of the most dangerous strikers in Asian football.
“Ali Mabkhout has been with the national team for a long time and has a lot of experience after his time at the London Olympics and at the 2009 Under-20 World Cup,” added Ali.
“He has played in many competitions and played many times for the national team. Now this is being reflected in his play and he is scoring many goals.”
Bahrain know that while a draw will keep them alive until the final matchday, a win is necessary to put them back in quarter-final contention.
Coach Eid neatly avoided a question asking whether defeat would spell the end of his short tenure, but he knows what is needed.
“We want three points and this is important for the team,” he said.
“We know that UAE is dangerous in their attack but we have a style to stop this situation – we have our strong points too.”