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The illuminating testimony of Belgian Quentin Guardian, former bodily coach in Qatar

What about ecology?

“Over there, it’s different. I was really shocked by what I saw. Living there, I understood the Qatari rationale: oil and fossil fuels are sold much cheaper than at home. us. So their first instinct is to go to this kind of thing. It costs them more money to make solar panels or wind turbines than it does to just tap oil, a resource they have readily available. And yet, they have the sun, the wind, the desert, and the sea! I know the situation is Changing. After various controversies around them, they have been forced to change things to improve their image. And as they like to innovate, they are working on other solutions. But clearly, with the context on the ground that I just described for you are the opposite of any ecological logic. The air conditioning, for example, works all the time everywhere inside but also outside. I once attended the Copa del Rey soccer final. It was the end of May, but I was wearing a sweater in the stadium because… kis I eat cold because of the air conditioning, an aberration! The little daily efforts we make in Europe are destroyed in Qatar at the push of an SUV! I think they are a few decades behind, especially for the use of plastic. With the big events the country has been hosting for several years, I hope things will change thanks to the media exposure. They don’t really have a choice. What I am going to say may be harsh, but, for me, Qatar is not a place where people should live, because we have to fight against climate factors that are not livable for people. “

We almost forget that the World Cup is a sport… You have rubbed shoulders with the young players who are now part of the Qatar national team. What is their real level?

“Actually, I have coached some current members of the national team. At the time they were between 14 and 18 years old. I warn you: it can be surprising! years. When I was looking after Anderlecht’s youngsters, I remember a tournament in Morocco with the 2005-2006 generation. Aspire Academy also took part in the competition and ended up in the semi-finals! we doubted their qualities, the Qatari players really proved themselves against high-level teams from France, Belgium, etc. And then, don’t forget that the adults were Asian champions (Editor’s note: in 2019, beating Japan in the final 1-3) ! They do quite well in their international encounters. I wouldn’t dare to bet, but Qatar could be competitive during this World Cup at home. “

Trick question: since you got to know them during your time at Aspire Academy and it’s not easy to memorize, can you give us some names of Qatari players who will take part in the World Cup?

(he bursts out laughing) Nouns maybe, but adjectives are impossible! Very hard to remember…”

During the last ten years, Qatar has organized many major sporting events such as the world championship in cycling, handball, athletics… We have the impression that the World Cup of Football will be the summit. What else will the Qataris be able to create after this?

“It’s true, this World Cup is the summit! The whole city of Doha is up for the occasion. Every subway lane, every highway, every shopping mall is built around the World Cup. As I said before, I really wonder what will be done with these stadiums… In Aspire Zone, where I worked, it was the national stadium at the time with 50,000 seats. twice in one season: once in a friendly against China with almost 15% of the stands full, and once in Copa del Rey where the stands were full.smaller stadiums from 4 to 5000 seats… and never sold out!I don’t know what Qatar can host in the future besides the Olympics.The idea might be in mind of those I don’t think they’ll ever be able to welcome, but with the Qataris, you never know.” (Editor’s note: Following China’s withdrawal due to the health crisis, Qatar will also host the Asian Football Cup from June 16 to July 16, 2023)

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