The Qatari national team has several naturalised players and the country's FA is looking into a plan to boost youth playing numbers ahead of the 2022 event it will hostQatar's Football Association (QFA) has begun drafting up an extensive plan aimed at boosting youth playing numbers in the country with a view to the 2022 Fifa World Cup which it will host.
The small West Asian nation, with an approximate population of 1.85 million, has been thrust into the world spotlight after winning the hosting rights to the 2022 event.
Qatar, who reached the quarter-finals of the 2011 Asian Cup which it hosted, has never qualified for the World Cup and has several national team players who were not born on Qatari soil such as Sebastian Soria Fabio Cesar, Lawrence Quaye and Mohammed Kasola.
QFA Technical Committee general secretary Ali Jassim Al Muftah revealed an extensive plan was being drawn up to increase youth numbers in the one-to-six age bracket from 4,000 to 15,000. Al Muftah is understood to be aiming to submit the plan in two months time.
"We’ve as many as 4,000 kids playing in this age group at the Aspire Academy Talent Centres and various clubs. It isn’t quite happening at schools due to various reasons," Al Muftah told Doha Stadium Plus.
"We aim to increase the total number of schoolchildren playing football to 15,000, which’ll be quite good. It’s the vision of our country’s leaders."
Al Muftah also revealed coming youth World Cups were a major focus for Qatar and qualifying for the Under-19 tournament was a top priority at the moment.
He added: “We constantly analyse where our country stands in terms of youth development. I strongly believe our youth teams are on par with Saudi Arabia at the moment.
"We’re on the right track, but must keep working hard. If we do that, I think we can make a significant progress in Asia in five years’ time, which should be really encouraging for the generations to come.
“Compared to Saudi Arabia, we’ve a very small population. Otherwise, our youth development would’ve got more reach. We need more quantity to find more quality players. So we decided to thrust more focus on schools."