Futsal will nurture Qatari technical skills, say former 'Al Annabi' legends
Obeid Jumaa (Photo: Qatar News Agency)
Former Qatar international Obeid Jumaa believes that tournaments such as the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC)-sponsored Al Rayyan Futsal Championship will help enhance the football skills of Qatari children.
Talking to www.sc.qa on the sidelines of the Ramadan tournament, Jumaa said that youth development ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar should focus on cultivating superior on-the-ball technical skills and that promoting futsal is one of the most effective ways to make this happen.
"We need Qatari kids to be good on the ball and thinking on their feet. This is the Asian way of playing," said Jumaa. "Saudi Arabian striker Saeed Al Owairan scored a goal of great technical brilliance against Belgium in the World Cup in 1994. Japan have been adopting a technical, possession-based style over the last decade.
"Qatar have skilful players but we need to promote this approach among high school kids for it to be the national team’s ideology by 2022. There is no point in shipping them out to Europe at a tender age. Like a sapling, they need local soil to be nurtured. Therefore, futsal needs to be taken to every school in Qatar. The SC has done a great job in sponsoring the Al Rayyan Championship. Tournaments such as this will help embed futsal in the popular culture of the country."
Former Qatar international Adel Khamis, who is also the Chairman of the Al Rayyan Ramadan Futsal Championship, agreed with Jumaa.
"We need to develop an Asian philosophy of playing technical football and futsal is an important way to make this happen. This approach has to start from the grassroots and go all the way up to the national team. Japan should be the model of excellence before us. They are easily a level higher than most other Asian teams today but were very ordinary when I was playing," said Khamis, who made 110 appearances for ‘Al Annabi’ between 1984 and 2000, a spell that included three AFC Asian Cups.
Khamis believes futsal will play an important role towards realising the objective of evolving a distinct style. "These days, the Aspire Academy is trying to develop a technical style based on possession. Making futsal a mass sport among kids will be a great way forward. Five years ago, Qatar had not heard of futsal. Now the country has a national team and youth team in the format. Most of the Qatar Stars League (QSL) clubs have professional teams in the code. There is also a school league. I am sure that in 2022, Qatar will have a vibrant futsal culture. And the SC’s patronage in making this happen will be an important legacy of the first ever World Cup in the Middle East."