Seeking Soccer Respect, Qatar Looked Abroad

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“A little more than a decade ago, Andreas Bleicher, then a director of one of Germany’s Olympic training centers, arrived in the tiny gulf nation of Qatar, wooed there by its royal family to help turn the hopeless national soccer program into something worthy of the world’s respect. There were plenty of reasons this would be difficult — the country hardly has a tradition of soccer excellence, and its record of producing premier athletes in any sport is sparse. But there was one problem that seemed insurmountable. With a native population of only 300,000, Qatar simply did not have enough young players to form a team that could hope to compete with the likes of Brazil, Argentina and Germany.” NY Times – 1, NY Times – 2

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