By Onochie Anibeze, Qatar
Head coach of the Aspire soccer academy in Qatar, Ferdinando Scarpello said Thursday that the centre of sports excellence will produce star players who could make Qatar proud during the 2022 World Cup.
Qatar is not known for football. But as the World’s largest producer of gas they have the resources to stage a successful World Cup. The concern of nationals and football followers is whether they could produce a strong national team that could keep the atmosphere lively while the World Cup goes on. It was also the fear of many in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
“Most of the players we have here will represent Qatar in the 2022 World Cup. We are preparing them. By 2022, they will make everybody proud,” said Scarpello, an Italian.He was addressing visiting journalists yesterday during the visit of Lucas Neill, the Aussie captain who was guest of the academy. Neill leads Australia in the Asia Cup final on Saturday against Japan who have won the cup three times.
He took time off to address the students of the academy. He told them that they have been provided with the foundation to rise to the top of their careers and that only hard work will elevate them to stardom. Scarpello continued: “When these players graduate, they will eventually move to different clubs. We are preparing them tactically, technically and mentally.
Of course, not all of them will grow to be stars. It is just natural that some will move on while some may drop by the way. But I’m sure that some of these boys will play for Qatar in the 2022 World Cup and they could produce something then. They have the right mentality. What matters is their performance and not whether they are winning all their friendly matches.
We have coaches from Holland, England, Spain etc. I’m Italian. So you can imagine the blend from different perspectives. We hope that by 2022 they will have a good show”
Stuart Hodge, the Head of Public Relations and Events said that the academy has categories of players from ages 12 to 17. He further added that “we have had five players from the academy that are playing for the national teams. We have 11 years to produce players for that competition and it is achievable. We are already doing so and with time there will be more.”
Aspire also has players from different countries but they are about 30 per cent of the number going to school and at the same time training for professional careers.