With spectacular goals and action now underway at the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2015 – AFC Qualifier Qatar at Katara beach, fans are starting to get a taste of the action on the sand as all the top sides begin to chase the three qualifying spots for Portugal 2015 this summer.
In an exclusive interview with www.sc.qa, Beach Soccer Worldwide Executive Vice President and FIFA Beach Soccer Committee Member Joan Cusco encouraged supporters to come to the venue and accompanying fan zone, organised by the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC), to catch some of the exciting action and try out the accompanying activities for kids and families.
[quote_box_center]“If you come, we will not disappoint you,” Cusco said with a smile. “You will like what you see. This is a new, modern, fast sport with lots of goals. It is very energetic, there is music and people will love it and will have fun.”[/quote_box_center]
Cusco added that he believed the sport would gain a great amount of new fans in Doha.
[quote_box_center]“We target everybody,” he added. “Whether that’s football fans or other people who are not so familiar with football, they can come to beach soccer and have fun and enjoy the game. The sport is growing fast and there are fans from all over the world. Today we have 134 national associations who are active and have national teams and national championships.”[/quote_box_center]
Of the 14 top Asian teams playing this week in Doha, only three will make the tournament in Portugal this summer, making for some outstanding match-ups between the continent’s leading sides. For Cusco, the coming edition of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup is sure to attract a great number of fans to the matches.
He continued: [quote_box_center]“Portugal is an easy market for us. The crowds will be very good. We have learnings and legacies of all the World Cup editions we’ve had, all of them have been different. But the important thing is that you always learn and you always improve. That for sure is going to happen in Portugal.”[/quote_box_center]
The sport will also be looking to expand into the women’s game in the coming year, according to Cusco.
[quote_box_center]“We are a small sport and we need to grow in an organic way,” he expanded. “The best news is that women play well on sand, at a very good level, we are now in an environment of 30 nations, so we are starting to consider women’s competitions at an international level. We are committed and confident that it will go well. We had a test event in Portugal last year which worked very well, this year we will have another test, so by 2016 our goal will be to have a women’s event.”[/quote_box_center]
For the coming editions of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, Cusco added that he would welcome bids from the passionate and rapidly developing football region in the Middle East: [quote_box_center]“We have appointed 2017 to the Bahamas, and in September we are opening the bid for 2019. We would be delighted to receive bids from the Middle East, because this is a region we like and which is very friendly with the sport. It is a region where football passion is growing very fast, and where we have interest in being, so if a bid comes up from the region, for sure we will be delighted.”[/quote_box_center]
The Spaniard who has been instrumental in the development of Beach Soccer added that the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar™ was already leaving a tangible legacy in the country: [quote_box_center]“Whoever decided that the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy has those two words was very smart. Number one because delivery is key, and I am hundred percent sure that Qatar will deliver a world class event, so delivery will be granted and they are making all the efforts to deliver the right level. And legacy, which is a fashionable word, is not only after the event. There is also a legacy before the event. There are plenty of people working on different aspects. We are still far away, and improvements in public services and hotels and experiences people have are all part of the legacy. 2022 is still far away, but people are starting to feel it. The success of the tournament will be something that no one will question.”[/quote_box_center]
FIFA BEACH SOCCER WORLD CUP 2015 – AFC QUALIFIER QATAR
12:30 – UAE 7-5 Iraq (Group C)
15:00 – Oman 3-2 Bahrain (Group A)
16:15 – China 5(3)-5(2) (pso) Vietnam (Group B)
17:30 – Japan 5-3 Kuwait (Group B)
18:45 – Qatar 5 – 6 Laos (Group A)
20:00 – Iran 3-2 Lebanon (Group D)
12:30 – Uzbekistan vs. UAE (Group C)
15:00 – Laos vs. Oman (Group A)
16:15 – Kuwait vs. China (Group B)
17:30 – Vietnam vs. Japan (Group B)
18:45 – Bahrain vs. Qatar (Group A)
20:00 – Thailand vs. Lebanon (Group D)
For the schedule of matches please visit: http://www.sc.qa/en/qatar/beach-soccer