By Sports Reporter/Doha
The start of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2015 – AFC Qualifier Qatar is only a day away and the anticipation for soccer on the sand is at its peak. Qatar’s head coach, Carlos Alberto Lisboa, more commonly known as Nenem, has just returned with the team from a training camp in his native Brazil and believes that Qatar can qualify, but that progression needs to happen step by step.
Ahead of the second FIFA Beach Soccer AFC Qualifier to be hosted by Qatar, coach Nenem believes the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar is a driving force behind his sport’s success. Although he acknowledges there is much work to be done, Nenem, a former beach soccer player who also played 11-a-side football with Lille in France, stressed: “Beach soccer will grow a lot with Qatar’s investment in sport, for sure. I came here four years ago, and now the people are starting to believe in this sport. We’re growing and we can do good things.”
On the cusp of the AFC Qualifier, Nenem’s Qatar side has just returned from Beach Soccer’s birthplace, Rio de Janeiro, where they played against some of the world’s best teams. Coach Nenem added: “We played against five teams, all big names with big players like Jorginho, Daniel, and other national team players from the Brazil setup. They learned tactics and movement of the Brazilian way of Beach Soccer and it was really helpful. The most important thing from going there is the confidence they are coming back to Qatar with.”
Coach Nenem knows his opposition well, not only from his four years in Qatar, but also from having coached in Japan, one of the tournament favourites. Other earmarked favourites are Iran and the UAE, who along with Japan are among the 15 best teams in the world according to the BSWW World Rankings. Qatar are grouped with Laos and Gulf neighbours Bahrain and Oman in group A, and with the increase of talent within Asian Beach Soccer, any prediction can only be regarded as uncertain.
While Nenem remains astute knowing his team has a lot of work to do, the Brazilian also has a lot of belief in his side, saying: “The road is long and not easy but we have the right pieces and people are buying into the programme, which has been developed over many years of beach soccer experience. I know the responsibility is huge, but the challenge is exciting and the team is taking it just as seriously.”
Before the competition starts at Katara Beach today, the number of participating teams has been reduced to 14. The Palestinian Football Association officially communicated to the Asian Football Confederation and Beach Soccer Worldwide that the team will not be able to take part in the competition, due to administrative issues outside of the event. This means that 14 teams will be vying for the 3 places available at the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Portugal 2015.
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