Qatar squad began their last stretch of preparations on Tuesday, ahead of their FIFA World Cup opener against Ecuador at Al Bayt stadium on Sunday. The Asian champions, who had arrived home from Spain on Monday after a month-long training camp, got down to business at Aspire Academy training pitch yesterday with head coach Felix Sanchez keeping a close eye on his players.
With the media attention firmly on them, the players put in hard yards as they await to take the field for the biggest moment of their careers – a historic World Cup debut at home.
The squad have already had a lengthy preparation for the football showpiece, having trained in Europe and played many friendly matches in the last six months.
Before they trained yesterday, five Qatar players – Salem al-Hajri, Mustafa Tarek Mashaal, Jassim Jaber, Khalid Muneer and Naif al-Hadhrami – took time out from their preparations to connect, engage, and inspire volunteers, who are central to the tournament’s success. Players signed autographs and led the volunteers through football drills, providing fun, fitness, and a once-in-a-lifetime experience for the participants.
Meanwhile, young Qatar defender Hammam al-Amin said he is proud to play in the World Cup. Al-Amin said that coach Sanchez’s confidence was a great motivation for him to be in the starting line-up.
“The coach gives me huge confidence. He has backed me since I’ve joined the team,” Homam told Qatar Football Association (QFA) twitter handle. “That goal against Honduras is the best memory of my career. I have worked very hard to be a part of national team. We are preparing for the World Cup which is our biggest challenge yet. I am looking forward to show a good performance and help my team in achieving our goal,” he added.
The 23-year-old added his selection for the tournament would not have been possible without the hard work he has put in training. “These are our best times as a team. We have spent the time together like a family. The atmosphere inside the team is wonderful. All of us have given our best in preparations and now we are eagerly waiting for the opening match against Ecuador,” he said.
“The last few months have been really helpful for us as we were focused on our preparation and the credit goes to the team management to ensure a viable plan for us,” Al-Amin added.
Al-Amin, who made his first international appearance in the 3-3 draw against Panama in the 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup, hoped Qatar will perform well in the World Cup to make fans happy.
“We need overwhelming support from fans and we promise them to give our best and bring smiles on their faces with our performance,”
Al-Amin also spoke about his personal ambitions, saying: “My dream is to win the Best Asian Player award like my senior team-mates Abdelkarim Hassan  and Akram Afif .”
Excitement builds as Qatar train ahead of opener
Qatar squad began their last stretch of preparations on Tuesday, ahead of their FIFA World Cup opener against Ecuador at Al Bayt stadium on Sunday.
Qatar's Spanish coach Felix Sanchez attends a training session in Doha on November 15, 2022, ahead of the Qatar 2022 World Cup football tournament. (Photo by KARIM JAAFAR / AFP)
Qatar's players attend a training session in Doha on November 15, 2022, ahead of the Qatar 2022 World Cup football tournament. (Photo by KARIM JAAFAR / AFP)