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Nov 26 - Dec 8, 2019
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Aspire Academy facilities astound Afghanistan team

Qatar’s football infrastructure is better than what we see in Brazil and Germany, say the visitors.
Afghans At Aspire 2
Afghanistan football team at the Aspire Academy. Photo: Aspire Academy

Qatar’s futuristic planning and efficient system to develop football in the country came in for high praise from the visiting Afghanistan football team.

They are in Doha to play the combined qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup and 2023 AFC Asian Cup against Qatar. They visited the Aspire Academy and were impressed by the facilities there.

Afghanistan coach Anoush Dastgir, a graduate of the famed Johan Cruyff institute, said, “The infrastructure, facilities and the youth development programme at Aspire are very good. I’ve been to Brazil where similar operations are run, but Aspire is on a higher level.”

Dastgir acknowledged the crucial role Aspire played in Qatar football team’s monumental achievement – the Asian Cup triumph.

“It was not achieved overnight, but as a result of long-term planning and hard work at the Aspire Academy,” he added.

The coach said that Qatar was a role model for the world in how to achieve success in sport.

“Qatar as a country has shown the world how a government, working with its people, its football association and all other stakeholders can plan and work hard to bring about success in sport,” he said.

Afghanistan defender Hassan Amin, who plays for SV Meppen in the German third division league, also spoke highly of the facilities at Aspire.

“Aspire Academy is fantastic as a youth development centre. I was born and grew up in Germany. I had been to some of the best sports facilities and academies, but Aspire is better than all of them,” said the 27-year-old defender.

Aspire Academy Deputy Director General Ali Salem Afifa led the visiting delegation on a comprehensive tour of the academy and gave them an insight into its philosophy of nurturing talent.