DOHA (Reuters) – Experienced striker Sebastian Soria was left out of Qatar’s 23-man squad for next month’s Asian Cup with the Gulf Cup winners instead opting for uncapped African-born forwards Tresor Kangambu and Mohammad Montari.
Soria won his 100th cap for Qatar in October and marked the milestone by scoring in a 3-0 success over fellow Asian Cup finalists Uzbekistan but it was not enough to make the squad for the Gulf Cup tournament the following month.
The 31-year-old has continued to score goals for Qatar Stars League champions Lekhwiya but national team head coach Djamel Belmadi opted against a recall when he named his travelling party for the Jan 9-31 tournament in Australia.
The Algerian instead went for the Congolese-born Kangambu, a wide forward who plays alongside Soria at the league leaders, and El Jaish’s striker Montari, who was born in Ghana.
The 27-year-old Kangambu moved to Qatar four years ago, while 21-year-old Montari has been in a rich vein of form for his club side in recent weeks.
The duo joined Asian Player of the Year nominee Khalfan Ibrahim in the squad after the Al Sadd playmaker was recalled after he missed the Gulf Cup because of injury.
Qatar have been drawn in an all West Asian Group C in Australia alongside Bahrain, Iran and United Arab Emirates.
The Maroons face final warm-up matches against Estonia and Oman next week before they kick-off their campaign in Canberra on Jan 11 against the UAE.
The 2022 World Cup hosts staged the Asian Cup four years ago, matching their tournament best showing of a quarter-final berth in 2000.