The QFA General Secretary shared his thoughts on why Qatar have been successful on the international stage…

When Qatar won the hosting rights for the 2022 World Cup back in December 2010, one of the points raised by critics was whether the Middle East nation had a strong footballing team to compete amongst the best in the business.

However, last year, they won the Asian Cup and would enter the 2022 World Cup with the title of ‘Asian champions.’

Two years from now on November 21, 2022, Qatar would play their first ever World Cup game at the Al Bayt Stadium in what will be the tournament opener. All eyes will be on the performance of the Middle East nation and Qatar Football Association (QFA) General Secretary, Mansoor Al Ansari promises that their national team continues to make important strides in order to make a mark at the World Cup.

“We have a strong plan and programme for our players which is ongoing. We played against Costa Rica and South Korea recently. We are participating in the CONCACAF Gold Cup next summer and we will be participating in Copa America next summer. All of these are great opportunities for our players to gain more experience on the international front and getting them ready for the major event in Qatar in 2022.

“Today we are the Asian champions competing in the World Cup, we are very proud but it doesn’t mean we stop (progressing) to improve so that they can maintain and develop further,” said Mansoor Al Ansari to Goal.

Qatar took a set of talented players and gave them the best facilities and exposure in order to prepare a strong group, keeping the 2022 World Cup in mind. This programme has certainly brought dividends as most of their national team players have come through a proper system with the Aspire Academy also playing a key role.

Al Ansari was asked whether he would recommend a similar strategy to some of the other Asian nations who are looking to make a mark in the world of football. He also pointed that there is no secret formula per say and that each country has to chart their own way looking at what works best for them.

“I believe every association and every country should evaluate the best opportunities in their environment. What worked for us might not work in another country. What works in other countries might not work in Qatar so there has to be a lot of research done and lot of trial and error until you are not able to find the most successful formula. There is no one formula.

“The process that has been put is an ongoing and continuous process to ensure that it keeps up with fast moving time driven technology in regard to sports performance and the technical aspect. There is a lot of development in how the teams are playing. It is not a one-way solution.”

Al Ansari, who is also part of Asian Football Confederation’s (AFC) Finance Committee, pointed that it’s crucial for all the different departments within an association to work cohesively to achieve a common goal.

“Every association knows their strengths and weaknesses and they will accommodate their own formula which they think is the best. You cannot compare a small country with 3,00,000 people with a big country that can have millions of people. In Qatar, we have a very unique setup.

“We achieved this because we are all working together as a unit. When you have Aspire Foundation, Aspire academy, Aspetar, Aspire logistics then you have the Qatar Stars League and you have the association. We all work together in a very healthy ecosystem that allows us to develop our players. We also have a very strong coach development process. We have a strong refereeing programme under the football association, and we have strong football performance development programme in collaboration between Aspire and the football association.”

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