Qatar Academy football team to compete in Abu Dhabi meet
TRIBUNE NEWS NETWORK
DOHA MEMBERS of Qatar Academy’s Junior Varsity football team left for Abu Dhabi on Tuesday to compete in the International Schools Activities Conference (ISAC) tournament being hosted by the American International School of Abu Dhabi.
The girls and boys teams are participating in the tournament.
According to Qatar Academy Athletics Director Stephen Walker, the students are expected to compete well.
“I always encourage all of our athletes to aim to represent the school in international competitions like ISAC,” Walker said.
“Our junior varsity athletes are still young but these tournaments are a developmental experience for them to consistently show determination and improve skills,” he added.
In last year’s ISAC varsity football championship hosted by Qatar Academy, the home team emerged as the winner after having a slow start.
Competing against schools from Egypt, Jordan and Kuwait, the football coach Miguel Varela knew the team was up against a deep pool of talents in the field.
Varela said: “The first two days we did not do well at all.
We were really anxious, and playing at home, we were willing to give a good impression.
In the last days of the tournament we had a very serious talk.
“We worked on some strategies and knew we had to win two games to make it to the finals. The true spirit of the team came up under pressure.
We reached the finals having played one more game than our opponents, but with the support of all of the school community we managed to claim victory and win the tournament.” Varela believes the outcome was a reflection of the athletes’ commitment to the team. Training commenced as soon as school started and included a lot of working out and building trust among the players.
“We put a lot of emphasis on fitness and working at high intensity at first. Eventually the team was in a really good shape so we started to work on skills and later on formation and tactics.
“What impressed me most was the effort the players put in every practice and game.
Some of them even got together on non-practice days and went running to get fitter.
They were very focused since day one, committed to the team, and wanted to play with their ‘hearts’ to reach the finals of the tournament”.
When some members of the Falcons team together with students from Qatar Leadership Academy and Awsaj Institute of Education formed the QF All Star team and played a friendly match against FC Barcelona’s U17 team last weekend, Varela – who teaches Spanish at the school – employed the same strategy.
“The idea was to come up with a strong formation, and then decide how to play such a strong team. I think that eventually it was a great game. We managed to score and played with pride. It was a terrific idea to let us play Barcelona, so we are very thankful to QF staff that made this possible and hope to be better prepared next time,” he said.