Qatar Football Association (QFA) General Secretary Mansoor Mohammed Al-Ansari feels that though Qatar are out of the reckoning for a place in the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, they are already developing a team that will compete in the 2022 FIFA World Cup to be held in Qatar.
In an exclusive chat with Goal, Mansoor Mohammed Al-Ansari said of his country's failed attempt to qualify for the World Cup in 2018, "First of all, this is football. You win some and lose some. Of course, we are all disappointed at the result. Qatar have never really qualified for the World Cup and this was an opportunity for us. At the end of the day, we did the best that we can but we were not able to cross over. We hope the teams that represent Asia do so well."
Ansari, who had also worked as the Chief Operations Officer of Qatar Stars League in the past, touched upon the recent performances of the Qatari clubs in the Asian stage. He felt that clubs doing well does not necessarily bode well for the national team.
"When you talk about clubs in competitions, they have the capability to bring on board professional players of different levels. That lifts the standard of the team and its competitiveness. It's a different matter in relation to the national team's qualifying prospects," he said.
"Al Sadd has won the Asian Champions League (ACL) once and we aim to give as much support to the clubs so that they compete at the regional level," he added.
He also touched upon the developmental aspects with regards to the 2022 World Cup and admitted that such work was carried out by the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy and QFA focused on developing young talents.
"We are all separate entities. The Supreme Committee's role is to overlook the stadiums and infrastructure and make sure that we are ready as a nation to host the biggest event in the world. As for us, we have been working on developing the football very intensely," he revealed.
"Qatar's team for the 2016 AFC U23 Championship was a very strong one. They finished in the fourth place and they are the same group which won the 2014 U19 Asian Cup. We have been working on youth development for a very long time in association with the Aspire Zone foundation. We have a good partnership with them. We are very proud of the effort our team put in the AFC U23 Championship, though they failed to qualify for the Rio Olympics."
"We hope they will become the core of our team for the 2022 World Cup. Three or four of the players are actually competing and playing in Europe. Some are in Belgium and some are in the third division Spanish league. Instead of having a big talent pool, we are focusing on a young elite pool of talent we have scouted and we aim to put them through a decisive training regime to help them develop their skills," he concluded.