Soccer and Qatari dream

16 Aug 2015

Qatar has today made a mark for its self in the economic and political scenarios with a serious agenda to make the world notice them and take them seriously. But this is not the only area in which Qatar would like to be noticed. They ambitions have extended to media, sports and tourism. In the sports avenue, football (or soccer) has become the new obsession and ambition for the nation to conquer. In the case of Qatar they are never happy just participating, if they do decide to part of any project they ensure that they invest enough to be considered to be a serious contender. This gave rise to a national programme on soccer and developing talent to take on this much loved sport.

There were many hurdles for Qatar to cross in building the dream team that they desired. First of them is the lack of local talent in sufficient numbers. The native Qatari population is very small and the country is mostly populated with immigrants. In order to build a country’s team they needed either native population or naturalized citizens. The emir has spared no expense in finding the right talent hunters and soccer coaches from across the world. Two of the biggest hires in the initial years were Andreas Bleicher, the director of Germany’s Olympic training centres and Josep Colomer, FC Barcelona’s scout, who is credited with discovering Lionel Messi. Colomer hit on the idea of bringing in players from African nations where there is not real chance for a sports talent to shine. These players with time will become Qatari citizens and will play for the national team. The program’s limitless scale is in keeping with Qatar’s broader desires to establish itself as a major player in all of its pursuits. For all its scope, Qatar’s international soccer machine was built largely on the word of one man: Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad al-Thani, the brother of the emir and the most soccer-mad member of the royal family.

The next step after player scouting has been in training where a whole stadium in Belgium has been bought up to facilitate practice and training sessions for the players. With a team of coaches and other support staff the players are in the hands of the best talents across the world. Qatar when it hosts the next World Cup wants to have a team that is strong contender and also give other nations a run for the title. Qatar has a deadline to deliver a team that looks as if it belongs on the world stage: the 2022 World Cup, which Qatar will host. It will most likely be Qatar’s debut in the World Cup. The Maroon, as the team is known, sits at 100th place in the latest world rankings, between Zimbabwe and Moldova.

While for many nations these plans might seem highly ambitious; for Qatari it is another mode through which they will establish their supremacy as a nation in the world. The Royal family is highly motivated and wants to use their wealth gained from oil resources to develop a nation that everyone in the world will look up to.

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