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IT HAS been barely a month since Ali Ghanim Al Kuwari took over as president of the Qatar Volleyball Association (QVA). The telephone keeps ringing, interview requests keep flooding, but Al Kuwari, a former international, makes it a point to answer all calls and pay heed to them.

For someone who has come up through the ranks, it is quite befitting that he currently occupies the top position at the QVA. It is presumed that players-turned-administrators have a better understanding of the game’s requirements. Much is expected of Al Kuwari and his team, which also includes two ex-players in Mubarak Eid and Saeed Salem.

As Qatar eye qualification for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the QVA’s new office-bearers have identified the priority areas in quick time.

“We’re working on a roadmap for future as we seek to broaden the base of local players. That’s our priority. There’s no dearth of talent in the country. It’s all about spotting the talent at the right age and nurturing it to full potential. So the focus should definitely be on local youth,” Al Kuwari told Doha Stadium Plus.

Being a former player himself and a member of the previous QVA Board, Al Kuwari is a regular at all Qatar League matches and he knows what it takes to succeed in the sport.

“To build a good national team, it’s important to have a good working relationship with all clubs and vice-versa. We’ve identified certain target areas and we’ve a strategy in place. We’ll work in close liaison with the clubs so as to build a foundation for a strong national side. We’ll have regular meetings with coaches, players as well as referees, who also have a key role to play. The QVA should be seen as a place of like-minded parties interested in the game’s development,” he added.

Qatar are currently ranked 36th in the world and last year they made their debut at the FIVB World League. They have been a force to be reckoned with at the Asian level. At the 2015 edition held in Tehran, Iran, they had achieved a fourth-place finish, which is their best-ever on the continent.

“The aim should be to improve on that. By 2020, we should’ve a wider talent pool to choose from,” he said. 

Qatar have also been making steady progress in beach volleyball. They made their Olympics debut at Rio, where they beat some fancied teams and went on to reach the pre-quarterfinal.

“Beach volleyball is certainly alive and kicking. It’s an Olympic sport and we’ll give it due priority. We’re planning to host a series of Asian Tour events to give the game more exposure in the country,” Al Kuwari concluded.

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