Abu Dhabi, 1 February 2019. For the 2019 AFC Asian Cup, Qatar’s coach trusted in many players that he had worked before on youth level and that had passed through Aspire Academy’s football program: Out of the 23 players of Qatar’s squad 14 graduated from Aspire. Players like Akram Afif, Assim Omer Madibo, Almoez Ali, Tarek Salman or Salem Al Hajri were already part of his AFC U-19 Cup winning team in 2014.
After the 3-1 success over Japan on Friday evening, Sanchez was at first speechless. "I have no words. We beat an outstanding, outstanding team," he said. "In the first half, we played very well. In the second half, we had to defend a lot because obviously they want to win the title as well. It was a very tough game. We suffered and we know how to suffer.”
"I'm very happy for the players and all of the people in Qatar who have supported us from the beginning. It's very well deserved. I'm very happy. I have no words."
Born in 1975, Fèlix Sánchez Bas was at FC Barcelona for 10 years, and throughout this long period he was coach of the Escola and, later, in the youth sections of the Club. With roots at FC Barcelona, Felix Sanchez instilled the Barça DNA in Sergi Roberto, Marc Muniesa, Gerard Deulofeu and Martin Montoya amongst others until in 2006 he left Barcelona for working at Aspire Academy.
And, after years of work as coach at Aspire, he became coach of the U19 Qatari national team in 2012. He led the team to glory for the first time, as champion of the 2014 AFC U-19 Asian Cup in Myanmar, a milestone in the history of the country. After coaching Qatar’s team at the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup in New Zealand, he was put in charge of Qatar’s U-23 team, before taking over the country’s senior national team in July 2017.