'We know what we have to do' against Socceroos, says new Syria coach


The 2019 Asian Cup has not gone according to plan for Syria, with no goals scored and one coaching change made after two games, but they are still aiming for a first-ever place in the knockout stages.

The only thing standing in the way of that: Australia.

After a disappointing goalless draw against Palestine in the opening game of Group B and then a 2-0 loss to Jordan, coach Bernd Stange was given his marching orders ahead of Wednesday's (AEDT) vital clash with the defending champions.

Fajr Ibrahim answered the distress call to take charge for what will be, or so the camp hopes, more than 90 minutes.

The 54-year-old managed the national team in the previous decade and was last seen in charge of Kelantan, one of Malaysia’s biggest clubs.

The lack of creativity and service to the strikers, the absence of tactical flexibility and rumours of unrest in the camp have all been concerns.

Arriving in the United Arab Emirates only on Friday, the former international full-back knows that there is not much time to have an effect on the players. 

"We know what we have to do and that is to win," Ibrahim told The World Game

"We are focused on that and only that. I will focus on the mental side of things.

"We have to remember that we have to work hard as a team and that team spirit is one of our greatest strengths.

"We will also try and reduce the number of mistakes that were made in the first two games."

Ibrahim understands that it will not be easy. With Jordan already taking top spot, the Socceroos need a point to be sure of second and a place in the last 16.

"Australia are a strong team and also will be fighting hard. We have not shown our best but we know that we can still control our situation," he added.

"If we win then we will go through to the next round. We are not thinking of anything beyond the game with Australia.

"We saw that Australia recovered well from their loss to Jordan and that is something that we have to do now."

Syrian legend Firas Al-Khatib will also head to the UAE to provide moral support to the team.

Al-Khatib has been a vocal critic of Stange during the tournament and quickly called for the dismissal of Stange, a former Perth Glory boss, after the Jordan loss.