MIAMI, Florida – The start of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar looms on the horizon and one of the many ways that the host nation is preparing for their first ever World Cup appearance is by gaining experience playing in other international tournaments.
For that reason, it made perfect sense for Qatar to accept the invitation to play the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup as a guest participant, and Qatar Head Coach Felix Sanchez Bas knows next summer’s 16-team tournament will be a great testing ground for his side.
“We are a team that is trying to grow, playing tournaments like the Gold Cup is a way to get international experience outside of our region. We find ourselves at a moment in which we can compete against everyone, but going abroad to different continents to play official competitions is important for the team to continue growing,” Sanchez Bas in an exclusive interview with Concacaf.com.
For fans in the Concacaf region who have not seen Qatar play, they can expect a team that will seek to impose themselves against their opponents.
“We are a team that always tries to come out and compete against any team we face, whether they are a global powerhouse or a more modest team. We always try to play with an idea that makes us competitive. We like to dominate all phases of the game and I think that’s required of any team right now that wants to be competitive, but the players feel more comfortable and are capable of taking the initiative and being protagonists in the game. But we know that we’ll have to adapt to different scenarios and I think our players understand that,” said Sanchez Bas.
Drawn into Group D with Honduras, Panama and Grenada, Sanchez Bas knows that a tall task awaits against a pair of Central American powers and a Caribbean nation that is on the rise.
“If they have qualified for a tournament of this magnitude, that means they have a high level. Panama and Honduras are national teams that have played World Cups, they have players from their domestic leagues but also in big leagues in Europe. They are players with a lot of experience. Grenada we don’t know as well, but now we have time to analyze them thoroughly and get to know them. We know that it is a tough group and we are going to try to go into it in the best possible condition with the hope of having a very good tournament,” said Sanchez Bas.
Sanchez Bas also discounted the idea that Qatar’s lack of Gold Cup experience could catch opponents by surprise.
“Nowadays with the resources and the technical personnel that each staff has in their national team, I think there are no more surprises. I think we are going to try to see and study the strong points and the weak areas of each of the opponents we are going to face, and they are going to do the same. When we arrive there, they will know us and know the characteristics of our play and the individual characteristics of our players, so I don’t think there will be any surprises,” concluded Sanchez Bas.