Seeking Soccer Respect, Qatar Looked Abroad
Colomer was known in soccer circles for his unorthodox ideas, and soon he began talking about importing talent to Qatar, from Africa, where even children in the most far-flung villages grow up playing the game.
“Many of the players there, they don’t have any chance to be seen, to be discovered,” Colomer said.
The possibilities were tantalizing. What if Qatar could send expert scouts throughout Africa on a mission to identify young, talented boys and offer them scholarships to come train at Qatar’s Aspire Academy, the new, glimmering sports institute that was bankrolled by the royal family?
From that simple premise unspooled a wildly ambitious plan that reached from the dusty fields of Senegal and Kenya to the cloistered royal palaces of Qatar to a rundown stadium in a sleepy corner of rural Belgium.
Let other countries start small. In the first year alone, Qatar screened nearly 430,000 boys in 595 locations across seven African countries. More than seven years later, Aspire has screened 3.5 million young athletes across three continents and cherry-picked the most promising boys for odysseys that have spanned the globe.
The program has taken Samuel Asamoah from Ghana to Qatar to Senegal to Belgium, where the royal family purchased a lower-level team as a strategic outpost to develop its players (far) away from the spotlight. It has taken Anthony Bassey from Uyo, Nigeria, on a similar journey. The program’s limitless scale is in keeping with Qatar’s broader desires to establish itself as a major player in all of its pursuits. it's an oldie but goodie- in terms of Qatar's pushing itself in the centre of the football world.
Qatari Soccer Empire Buys a Foothold in Europe
One could see why. On the surface, the two groups had nothing in common, but each also possessed something the other needed. For the officials from Eupen (pronounced OY-pen), the lure was obvious: money. Like many small-time soccer clubs in Europe, Eupen was on the verge of financial ruin; the Qatari royal family represented a surprising and unusual jackpot.
For the Qataris, the attraction was more complex. They were searching for a way station of sorts, a side door into the elite European soccer system. Through a program called Aspire Football Dreams, begun in 2007, the Qataris had scouted hundreds of thousands of young African players and brought the best of them to their academies, in Doha and in Senegal, to develop. Now they wanted a place where the youths could play professionally. part two of the article posted above. It's an interesting piece in light of Qatar coming into prominence recently
Chatter from the sidelines
- Reus to Madrid talk blatant nonsense
- Five Things That Went Wrong for Jozy Altidore at Sunderland one goal in his season and a half in the PL, that's what went wrong
- Koeman: Scrap FA Cup replays I'm two minds about this. The replays work for the small league teams who make it this far, in that the more games get televised, the more money for their coffers (you have some League 1 teams still sniffing about). But with the gruelling competitions all teams have to do nowadays, you're better off doing one match and then the dreaded penalties. That being said... what's with the Dutch coaches coming over here and whinging about everything in the English game/league week in/week out though? Didn't they know what this job entailed before they signed the contracts?
- David Moyes: Real Sociedad boss given two-game La Liga ban #justMoyesiethings
- Klinsman supportive of Altidore and Mix coming to MLS to play so much for Klinsmann being anti MLS.
- Mix Diskerud Signs for NYCFC the big news is that he isn't a DP (Designated Player not that other DP, rude)? NGL, I like him, he has personality
- Fernando Torres: Atletico striker has returned a man - Simeone one swallow doesn't a summer make, but I do hope Nando and Simeone both get what they want
- Radamel Falcao must prove himself, says Louis van Gaal as he insists Manchester United will not be active in transfer window say what you want about LvG, but he is straight talking all day
- Krystian Bielik is closing in on a move to Arsenal... so, who is the young Pole tipped to be the new Patrick Vieira?high praise indeed
Torres scored and Gerrard liked it! Gerrard and Nando follow each other on Instagram
Alonso took his family to Euro Disney, I'm assuming
Yeah yeah, he's the strong one for carrying the children especially with them laden up with sugar and Disney, but have you seen her boots? All that walking? Nagore is a goddamn superhero here. That cape, that boots - to Disney Word with all them rides, sticky fingers and whatnot? Do you think they knew a photographer was there. I mean, no shade but when they were at Madrid they tended to do that sort of thing. Are they going back to that then?
At least he isn't using a selfie stick. Ugh
The BundLi matches don't start until Jan 30, am I reading that right? I don't know why I think Dortmund is playing tonight
Reus has said that he will not make a decision about his career until he returns to full fitness. So until then, has asked that people don't pry. Fair enough
Reus and Gro--- sorry, my computer can't do the characters, but him
Lionel Messi, Neymar Jr, and the other guy I'm blanking on right now are in training
Throw back of Ramos. I was looking for pictures of Bobby Soldado when he used to score, but eh, found this one instead
Bobby Soldado in the background
Juan Mata in the background
Wait, I had this Atlético picture in my folder? This was after the 2-2 draw with Real Madrid. People seem to be surprised that Nando has accepted his fate as a squad player, which makes me... I what?
Simeone wanted him specially, he and the other players seem to get on so what's the problem?
Daniel Sturridge is back in training. He seems to have gotten the issues with his thigh and calf worked out, iirc. We'll see
Emre Can. I don't know why people don't metaphorically scream and throw knickers at him more. He's good looking, class player who can command that midfield. Also versatile as a defender. Sakko, alas, plays good for country, has an irregular form for club
Sterling still hasn't committed future to LFC. It be like that sometimes
There are some Hummels fans on this comm. Lo, look at his body, bathed in light
The face and body that launched a thousand 'imagine' fics on tumblr. Oh, you don't know what that subsect of tumblr is? It's fine
Aaron Ramsey. Some of you dig him too
Bayern players back in training. I'll put a trigger warning for Götze if warranted
Still laughing at Robert Ledow- Lewandan-- him. He voted for Ronaldo and now trying to walk it back. *does Luis Vargas laugh*
Neuer heard about Robby voting against him. You ain't got no brand, Manuel
Bayern Munich in Qatar
It seems that Basti and Sarah (who?) are back together again. OTP, all that bit