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Nov 26 - Dec 8, 2019
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‘Qatar’s Asian triumph has had a huge impact’

Other Qatari sports associations are seeking to emulate football’s approach, says national coach.
Alberto Mendez Villanueva, National Coach Felix Sanchez
Fitness expert Alberto Mendez-Villanueva (left) and national coach Felix Sanchez at the 4th ASIA Congress in Doha. Photo: Aspire

Qatar’s triumph in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup tournament in the UAE has had a huge impact on sports development in the country, according to Felix Sanchez, the coach of the national team.

Speaking on the opening day of the fourth Association of Sports Institutes in Asia (ASIA) Congress at the Aspire Academy, Sanchez lauded the planning behind the successful journey.

“The purposeful planning and intention shown by Qatar and the Aspire Academy in choosing to be patient in building and developing a team instead of going for immediate results proved to be worthwhile. This pathway has made other sports bodies in the country to seek to emulate this approach,” said Sanchez.

The speakers touched upon a variety of topics, including the misunderstanding about challenges of training during the holy month of Ramadan.

“Contrary to the notion that there can’t be training during Ramadan, we in Qatar have come to appreciate and understand that isn’t the case,” said Dr Alberto Mendez-Villanueva, the Head of Fitness at Qatar Football Association, during the opening session.

“What we do is to adjust the training times. For instance, we run full training at night with the players applying themselves like at any other time,” he added.

Ali Salem Afifa
Ali Salem Afifa, chairman of the 4th ASIA Congress, speaks at the inaugural session. Photo: Aspire

Aspire Academy Deputy Director General Ali Salem Afifa, who is also Chairman of the ASIA Congress, opened the three-day meeting.

ASIA President Dr Takahiro Waku and his deputy Toh Boon Yi welcomed two new members — China’s Chengdu Sports University and Cambodia’s National Institute of Physical Education and Sport — to the organisation’s fold.

ASIA founding members — the Japan Sports Council, Singapore Sports Institute, Hong Kong Sports Institute and Aspire Academy — made a presentation on the topic of transitioning of athletes from youth to senior level.