13 Nov 2022
No less than 18 players in Qatar’s 26-man squad for the FIFA World Cup 2022 are Aspire Academy graduates.
National team boss and former Aspire Academy coach Felix Sanchez has named a total of 15 players (10 of those Aspire graduates) that won the 2019 AFC Asian Cup in his squad.
All three goalkeepers for the World Cup are graduates of the academy - Saad Al Sheeb, Youssef Hassan and Meshaal Barsham, the brother of World and Olympic high jump champion Mutaz Essa.
Six of the nine defenders included graduated from Aspire -Bassam Al Rawi, Tarek Salman, Musab Khidir, Homam Al Amin, Jassim Jabir and 2018 Asian Footballer of the Year Abdelkarim Hassan.
In the midfield there are also six of nine players who were developed at the academy - Mohammed Waad, Salem Al Hajri, Assim Madibo, Mostafa Meshaal, Khalid Muneer and Naif Al-Hadhrami.
Of the five main attackers on the list three of them are Aspire Academy graduates – Almoez Ali, Ahmed Alaa and 2019 Asian Footballer of the Year Akram Afif.
It means 70% of the Qatar squad have been developed at Aspire, while the team’s Spanish head coach Sanchez, goalkeeping coach Julius Buscher and fitness coach Alberto Mendez-Villanueva also worked at the academy before moving on to the senior team.
Qatar play the opening game of the tournament on Sunday 20 November against Ecuador at the Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor.
The Asian champions then take on African champions Senegal on Friday 25 November at the Al Thumama Stadium.
The hosts will end their Group A matches against the Netherlands four days later back at the Al Bayt Stadium.