The Q-factor in Qatari football
Live Punjab News Service
Doha -- When Qatar plays Iran in the men's football semi-finals of the 15th Asian Games Tuesday, a large share of the team's progress will depend on the Q-factor - Sebastian Quintana.
Currently tied third with three goals on the top goal scorers' list, Quintana has become a match winner for the Qatari national side. An Uruguayan by birth, Quintana came to Qatar in 2004 and has established himself in the national team.
"I was brought to Qatar in September 2004 by French coach Bruno Metsu who was at Al-Gharrafa at that time. When I received the offer, I jumped at the opportunity. But I had to look it up on a map because I didn't know where it (Qatar) was," says 18-year-old Quintana.
Quintana made an immediate impact, scoring 14 goals in his first year to help the professional Al-Gharrafa football club win the league. He then moved to Qatar Sports Club, scored 19 goals in his debut season and was voted Q-League player of the season.
After residing in Qatar for two years, Quintana became eligible for the national side.
Quintana's scoring prowess has made him a fans' favourite, and many will be looking to him to help Qatar progress to the Asian Games semi-final.
Besides winning a medal at the Asian Games, Quintana and the Qatar side have many other ambitions.
"We want to win a medal at the Asian Games, then we have the Gulf Cup coming up in January, and we will try to qualify for the Olympics in Beijing 2008. But my ultimate dream is to make it to the World Cup finals with Qatar," he says.
"This is a young and talented group and I think we have chances to do well. We've got a good infrastructure, an ever-growing league and I think we can do well against great teams like Saudi Arabia, Japan and Iran who are the best in Asia at the moment."